Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Northeast Asia Area Council (NEAAC) of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) took a virtual form, meeting 8 and 9 February, hosted by the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT).
In a presentation to the gathering, WCRC President Najla Kassab encouraged the attendees to think about the actions churches can take under the COVID-19 pandemic. She responded to the theme of the meeting—Rediscovering Communion: Power, Just Participation, and Reclaiming the Radicality of the Gospel—by stressing the importance of communion during these difficult times.
Keynote speaker Chiu Kai-Li, used Scripture from the Book of Matthew, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least these who are members of my family, you did it to me,” to reveal the importance of loving the marginalized.
Kassab agreed: “We are at a time of change. To be able to connect and remain to love our neighbours in the right way is the challenge for us today.”
According to rotation, Heo Baekki from the Korean Christian Church in Japan (KCCJ) was elected as the moderator for 2021-2022. Shuhei Oishi and Karin Kushima from the Church of Christ in Japan (CCJ) were elected as NEAAC secretary and treasurer respectively.
The gathering also heard updates from all its members, with a focus on how they are responding to the pandemic in creative ways.
“The global pandemic has presented many difficulties, not only for our domestic missionary activities, but also for international relations and ecumenical cooperation,” said Lim Chung-Hwan of the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK). “Although it is impossible to have direct contact meetings or exchanges, we have continued to experience koinonia online, sharing our experiences of the COVID-19 situation with partner churches and organizations, searching for countermeasures to the situation with them, and discussing the identity of the church.”
“Under these [pandemic] circumstances, the prophetic role of the church has to be regarded as significant. Now is the time for the church to clearly show God’s message to politics which values money over life, and to economic society which robs the poor for the rich,” reported Baekki.
Chan Lap-Yi from Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China (HKCCCC) expressed the challenges Hong Kong people and churches faced under the new political developments during COVID. Baekki showed deep concern for HKCCCC, saying, “It’s very heartbreaking. We will pray for the churches and the people in Hong Kong.”
Member churches of NEAAC are PCT, KCCJ, CCJ, HKCCCC, PROK, and Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK).
—Reported by Ms. Lee Jia-Chi,
PCT youth delegate