This year’s ACT Alliance General Assembly brought together 379 people from member churches and organizations from around the world, and I was honored to be there with Maurice Bloem and Josephine Oguta from CWS. One thing that impressed me the most, beyond the numbers and nationalities, was the diversity of churches/denominations – and their distinctive views on many issues – represented. Throughout the 5-day gathering, I heard many pros and cons, particularly about issuing public statements as an Assembly due to differences in the ways members believe and practice their Christianity and because of difficult political situations in home countries. Still, despite the diversity, during plenary and regional meetings, 14 public statements were approved.
Among many issues voted on, the most important to me was the one to change ACT’s membership engagement model, which will directly affect CWS Japan. To empower national Forums, the Assembly decided to authorize them to collect membership fees in each country, so all national Forum can fund a secretariat and have collaborative activities/projects. But, up until now, Japan has not had an ACT Forum. And, so a major mission for CWS Japan in joining the Assembly with the National Christian Council in Japan was to strengthen our partnership with ACT’s regional Forum to revitalize Japan’s Forum, which was accomplished!
In the coming months, CWS Japan will get busy drafting a plan for an ACT Japan Forum, starting with a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Christian Council in Japan. After that, we will start awareness-building toward ownership among all Council members, which is sure to be a challenge is member disengagement was a major reason for stagnation in the ACT Japan Forum in recent years. As we plan to regroup, we are glad to know that the ACT Alliance Secretary General, Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, is visiting Japan in March 2019. We hope that his visit during this formative period for our Forum will bring attention to the aim of the ACT Alliance enough to engage colleagues from all Council members.
Yukiko Maki is a Program Manager of CWS Japan.
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