In late September, CWS-CROP signed an Memorandum of Understanding with the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea – known as PROK – to facilitate cooperation and productive collaboration in preparing to respond, and when responding, to disasters, particularly in Asia. I was truly honored to join the PROK 2016 General Assembly in Seoul and to represent CWS and to share greetings to the churches leadership and other ecumenical partners gathered there. Below are my remarks from the event.
“On the happy occasion of the 101st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea, and in my role as Regional Coordinator for Asia, I am honored to represent Church World Service and to share news of our humanitarian and development work in Asia – especially our initiatives with some of the most vulnerable people in Southeast Asia, who are so subject to increasingly devastating natural disasters and harm to their lives and livelihoods.
And, in light of our respective humanitarian histories and shared mission and humanitarian aims, I am pleased and honored to affirm Church World Service’s respect and admiration for you all.
As we embark upon an agreement to put our shared values and aspirations for helping vulnerable people into action, I am honored to bring warm greetings from Church World Service colleagues, worldwide, including our President and CEO, the Rev. John McCullough and our Executive Director for CROP humanitarian and development action, Ms. Donna Derr.
Addressing you today at this important global meeting, I want to emphasize that our new collaboration is focused on ensuring humanitarian aid to the peoples of Asia, including the people of the Republic of Korea, when crises and disasters occur.
For CWS, this is a valued new partnership that will help us continue our humanitarian mission in Asia, which began 70 years ago at the end of World War II when American Christian farmers came together to aid war-devastated countries across Europe and also in Japan. In Japan, CWS led the Licensed Agencies for Relief in Asia, which brought aid and hope from ordinary citizens who were Christians and Japanese immigrants in North America. While our efforts were approved by the American President, LARA was not a government-funded initiative; it was a large scale ecumenical emergency relief program through public-private partnership.
In signing a Memorandum of Understanding with leaders of the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea, CWS leadership acknowledges and commits further to share the PROK spirit for ever more effective solutions to burgeoning humanitarian crises in the world.
Highlighting your mission to communicate to all who are willing to hear about the joining together of faith and action, I am pleased to share CWS thanks and admiration for PROK members’
- commitment to live out a dynamic and vibrant faith,
- members’ devotion to Christian witness toward justice and peace,
- sustained engagement in ecumenical dialogue and
- steadfast seeking of solutions to emergent social and environmental problems and concerns.
Let me once again congratulate you all – PROK members and leaders – on the occasion of your 101st General Assembly where, together, we celebrate … the Good News [that] tells us how God makes us right in his sight … from start to finish … by faith. And, as James tells us in verse 8 of his second chapter, let me close in affirming that “I will show you my faith by my good deeds”
Leslie Wilson is the CWS Regional Coordinator for Asia.