TAIPEI- General secretary of the Christian Conference in Asia (CCA) addressed on the challenges faced by Asian churches today as he received an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity Degree from a leading seminary in Taiwan.
On March 6, during the meetings of CCA in Taipei hosted by the National Council of Churches of Taiwan, Dr. Prawate Khid-arn has accepted the Honorary Doctorate of Divinity Degree from Tainan Theological College and Seminary (TTCS).
The faculty and board of directors of TTCS, in recognition of the near half-century of contributions to the churches and societies of Asia made by the CCA, and in the hope of strengthening the involvement of Taiwan’s churches with and contributions to the churches of the world, have voted to award the Degree of Doctor of Divinity to Khid-arn in June 2006.
While expressing great privilege and gratitude to TTCS for conferring to him this honored degree, Khid-arn is committed to tackle the challenges of Asian churches in the midst of social and political turbulence in many Asian countries.
Khid-arn described that it is now the "turning point in Asian history" because Asia is "marred by uncertainties, turbulence and violence in almost all aspect of human life" just as many different parts of the world. He lamented that "people are crying for genuine peace, justice and sustainable development" and "are watching and looking for spiritual and ethical wisdoms from churches and ecumenical movements in their continuing struggle towards genuine transformation."
Therefore, Khid-arn said it is also now a turning point for churches and ecumenical movements. "We desperately need a spiritual transformation, rethinking of the critical Asian spiritualities and Christian theologies that guided and strengthened our churches historically. Revisiting our roots and traditions can help us to understand the history and envision a new future," he explained.
In face of the persecution from other different faiths that are growing strong in Asian communities, Khid-arn suggested that "mutual cooperation and fellowship in the body of Christ among the theological seminaries, churches, church-related and believers are necessary and vital in building communities of peace for God’s creation." Khid-arn urged churches to be God’s living instrument of peace in divided and conflict-ridden world.
Speaking of the creation of the CCA after the ecumenical movement in Asia began in 1957, Khid-arn reminded of the commission of the CCA to continue the struggle for unite among Asian churches who bear witness to Jesus Christ.
"The struggle for ecumenism and ecumenical movement is an act of faith in solidarity with people. Let us continue and work harder to become Asian church of Asian people," Khid-arn declared.
TTCS stated the significance of granting the honorary doctorate for the overall ecumenical movement, "Granting this honorary doctorate not only can encourage Dr. Prawate Khid-arn for his future service within the CCA, but will also strengthen the ties between Taiwan’s churches and the churches of the world as well as bring about closer exchanges between Taiwan and the nations of the world while stimulating Taiwan’s churches to greater activity in the ecumenical movement."
Dr. Prawate Khid-arn is a citizen of Thailand. He was a member of the faculty of Payap University until he joined CCA staff where he served as executive secretary elected and installed as CCA’s general secretary.
The CCA was established in 1959, it is among the most active of the regional ecumenical associations linked to the World Council of Churches. Over the past forty years the CCA has made significant contributions and has had a deep influence on the causes of church unity and mission work, and on the project of theological education in Asia.