9th Asian Lutheran International Conference (ALIC)

  • By Chananporn “Oan” Jaisaodee (McGilvary College of Divinity, Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand)

It was such a great opportunity for me to be selected by ATESEA and supported by FTESEA, along with two other colleagues (Dr. Naw Myatt Hsu Mon from Holy Cross Theological College in Yangon, Myanmar and Ms. Hellen Bok from Lutheran Theological Seminary in Hong Kong) as ATESEA representatives to participate in the 9th Asian Lutheran International Conference (ALIC) at Medan, Indonesia from February 1-7, 2016. My deepest gratitude goes to ATESEA and FTESEA for their thoughtfulness and generosity.

ALIC is considered the first and the only network that brings Asians from ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) and Asians from Asia together for fellowship, networking, theological discussion, and sharing of mutual concerns for ministry. There were about 130 people from Asia and overseas who attended this international conference. Held under the theme, Re-Visioning Reformation in Asia, the 9th ALIC offered a variety of activities and programs for participants to reflect on the significance of the Reformation for the church and what it means for us, Christians in Asia, to continue to be in reformation in our own context and in learning from one another. In addition to engaging in keynote and plenary discussions addressed by distinguished Asian Lutheran scholars, the 9th ALIC participants were given opportunities to discuss together current challenges and opportunities facing their ministries, as well as to gather together for worship, prayer, and fellowship. This conference also allowed time for participants to visit and worship at local congregations, go on a cultural excursion, and meet church leaders from Indonesia.

We must expose our students to Asian sources of wisdom, cultures, and religions, and encourage them to be in dialogue with one another and with people from other faith…

What I learned and gained from participating in this conference has reinforced my vision in doing theological education in Asia, which emphasizes that theological education is a form of faith formation. To do theological education, we must always keep in mind that we must not make a claim to know God completely and to provide answers to every question. Instead, we must give room for students to ask questions and ponder upon those questions together. Furthermore, in addition to fostering critical thinking and theological reflection in students, we must expose our students to Asian sources of wisdom, cultures, and religions, and encourage them to be in dialogue with one another and with people from other faith.

The teaching ministry of the church and seminary must encourage, form, re-form, and enable people to live a life of faith in response to what the triune God has done, is doing, and will do.

As a form of faith formation, theological education acknowledges a collaborative divine-human interaction. The teaching ministry of the church and seminary must encourage, form, re-form, and enable people to live a life of faith in response to what the triune God has done, is doing, and will do. We, church leaders and seminary educators, must provide teaching that helps individuals become sensitive to and cooperative with the presence of the Holy Spirit at work in their lives and discern the gospel they are called to make, as followers of Christ, in their own time and place.

Once again, I am delighted and thankful to have been given the opportunity to participate in this conference. It helped, inspired, and gave me good insights of ways of doing mission in Asia. I hope that FTESEA and ATESEA will consider supporting and sending representatives to participate in the next ALIC which will take place in Thailand in 2019. May God bless you.

From left to right: Dr. Chananporn Jaisaodee (McGivlary College of Divinity, Chiang Mai, Thailand), Dr. H.S. Wilson (FTESEA), Dr. Naw Myatt Hsu Mon (Holy Cross Theological College, Yangon, Myanmar) and Ms. Hellen Bok (Lutheran Theological Seminary, Hong Kong at present doing her doctoral studies at LTS)

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