Asian women educators and women in ministry confer in Chiang Mai
Twenty nine (29) women educators and women in ministry from Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Laos gathered in Chiang Mai, Thailand on November 1 – 5, 2016 with the theme, “Women Doing Theology in Today’s Changing World.” The meeting was intended for them to:
- share their stories and experiences so they will be refreshed and re-energized;
- articulate and share their theological reflections on various issues they have encountered in their ministries;
- gather data and information about women in leadership in theological education and women doing theology/practical ministry so ATESEA can strengthen further its thrusts on women in theological education;
- explore partnership and collaboration efforts;
- provide space to discuss about pertinent Asian issues and theological responses from an Asian feminist perspective; and
- evolve strategies to create a network of Asian women doing theology with a wider participation of women who are already involved in this effort.
- Dr. Jeaneth Faller, Dean of the Divinity School, Silliman University, Dumaguete City, Philippines. She spoke on “Ecumenical spirituality and nurturing of contextual liturgical tradition.”
- Dr. Hope Antone of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia (Office at the Chinese University of HK). She led the session on “Women’s participation in leadership in a changing world.”
At the end of the conference, the participants expressed a new awareness of their own individuality and uniqueness as God’s special creation. They verbalized their understanding of the differences of leadership styles among men and women. As they shared their respective cultures and traditions, they appreciated the essence of learning from each other. The diversity enabled them to celebrate unity through mutual understanding and respect for one other. The fellowship and discussions became avenues of empowerment in developing new friendships in the ministries. As one participant stated, “Meeting women in ministry around South East Asia empowered me a lot. We all share the same struggles of taking care of the family, serving the Lord, and longing for gender equality in leadership.” All these experiences motivated the participants to have a deeper spirituality and service to God and to encourage other women to take on the steps of leadership in this changing society.
The conference was coordinated by the following members of ATESEA Board of Trustees: Dr. Joyce Abugan, Dr. Augustien Kaunang, Dr. Chuleepran Srisoontorn and Dr. Ezra Kok, ATU Associate Dean.