A meeting of representatives of churches in northeast Asia has heard calls to include concerns about nuclear technology in church justice advocacy work.
The calls were made as delegates from member churches of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) in the region met to plan programme priorities for 2012. The gathering, hosted by the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, was held 31 January to 02 February in Hsinchu, Taiwan.
In discussions dominated by environmental concerns, church delegates from Korea and Japan spoke strongly about the need for WCRC and other ecumenical organizations to take up issues of nuclear energy. Recalling major nuclear accidents in the world and especially the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant crisis, they reminded delegates that the world could be faced with a major catastrophe if “critical attention” is not paid to nuclear technology.
WCRC’s Northeast Asia Area Council (NEAAC) represents churches in Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, Taiwan, Thailand and Hong Kong.
In a keynote address on the theme “Ecological concerns and the Accra Confession”, Setri Nyomi, WCRC general secretary, told delegates that human activity is destroying creation.
“In the name of development, we have destroyed our natural resources and put in their places monuments of human greed. Our lifestyles have often led to unnecessary emissions of greenhouse gasses,” Nyomi says.
He added: “The Accra Confession, including its references to the environment, has implications for the lifestyles of Christians all over the world including the northeast Asia region.”
The Accra Confession is a declaration issued in 2004 by one of WCRC’s two founding organizations, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. In it, churches call destruction of the environment and the unequal distribution of financial resources resulting in hunger and disease “sinful”.
Hong Jung Lee of Korea noted that NEAAC and WCRC need to expand the reach of the Accra Confession to include nuclear technology concerns.
In a message to delegates based on the apocalyptic message to the church of Laodicea (Revelations 3: 16), WCRC vice-president Yueh-Wen Lu reminded delegates that they need to be “hot” Christians bringing love and justice and values for making a difference in the world rather than be lukewarm and passively participate in actions that are destructive to life.
The council elected new officers for the years 2012 and 2013. Yoshi Fujimori of the Church of Christ in Japan was elected president. The new secretary is Heo Baekki, also of the CCJ.
In a presentation to the council, the outgoing president Yang-En Cheng said, “We need more theological reflection and praxis in eco-justice, followed by concrete faith action.”