WSCF ExCo meets in Jakarta amidst tension after Surabaya bombings
Affirms the role of Indonesia SCM in peace building and dialogue, plans for 37th GA in 2020 Germany
2018 June 12-18, Jakarta, Indonesia
The WSCF Executive Committee held its in-face meeting at the Samadi Pastoral Centre in Jakarta, Indonesia from June 12 to 18, 2018. Hosted by the Indonesia Student Christian Movement or the Gerakan Mahasiswa Kristen Indonesia (GMKI), the meeting was attended by 28 participants composed of the WSCF global officers, executive staff members, regional representatives, and members of the WSCF Centennial Fund Board.
The Opening Program held at the Samadi Auditorium was attended by 50 students, senior friends, guests from churches and ecumenical institutions in Indonesia. Sahat Martin Philip Sinurat chairperson of GMKI welcomed and thanked the WSCF Centennial Fund and Executive Committee members for the solidarity statement and prayers on the recent bombing of churches last May 15 in Surabaya, Central Java. “I thank WSCF for choosing to meet in Indonesia despite the negative international publicity brought about by the Surabaya bombings,” he said.
In her response, WSCF General Secretary Necta Montes congratulated the GMKI leaders in their role in promoting dialogue and peace building in the campuses. Dr. Salters Sterling, WSCF Centennial Board Chairperson also thanked GMKI students and senior friends for their presence, reminding the delegates of the WSCF ecumenical vision that inspired the birth of the movement 123 years ago and continues to live amongst the spirit of the current generation.
Rev. Dr. Henriette Hutabarat Lebang, General Secretary of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia or PGI and a senior friend of GMKI gave the keynote speech at the opening. “The growing radicalism and extremism in the Indonesian campuses speak of the important role of SCM in promoting Pancasila, the five principles of the Indonesian society to live in peace and harmony with people of diverse faith,” Dr. Lebang said. Prof. Dr. Lim Mah Hui, economist and senior friend from Malaysia confirmed this trend during his presentation on the topic, Global Challenges in the 21st Century. “Global terrorism associated with Wahabism and the US Government policies in the Middle East, including the invasion of Iraq in 1990 and 2001 exacerbated this trend,” according to Prof. Lim.
Prior to the ExCo Meeting, Capacity Building Sessions were jointly organized by the ExCo and the Centennial Fund Board members from June 13 to 14 to share experiences and lessons learned in WSCF leadership from different generations. Six sessions were conducted on the topics: the Global Challenges and the role of the Ecumenical Student Movement in the 21st Century, WSCF History Current Challenges and the Future, and skills workshops on Risk Assessment, Leadership, Finance and Personnel Work. Yong Ting Jin, senior friend and former WSCF AP Regional Secretary, facilitated the sessions.
The panel on WSCF History, Current Challenges and the Future brought together stories and anecdotes from the 60s to the present. Salters and Ilari Rantakari recalled their experiences at the WSCF World Student Conference in Turku and General Committee in Otaniemi 1968 when the conference was suspended when delegates from North America and Europe protested against a pre-planned conference agenda. They also shared their reflection on the decision to regionalize WSCF structure. Jannes Hutagalung spoke of the important role of SCM founder Dr. Johannes Leimena in influencing and building the Indonesian nation when he was elected as Deputy Prime Minister in the 60s.
Necta Montes and Georgine Kengne Djuetane, representing the 80s and 90s, shared their critical view of ‘Regionalism’ within the Federation and urged the ExCo to begin the dialogue and conversation on regionalization after 50 years. Immanuel Kitnan and Salma Charaf, co-vice chairpersons representing the current generation agreed with this observation and underscored the importance of the ecumenical leadership formation programs in rebuilding the movement and sustaining the members.
The Executive Committee received the statutory reports from the Chairperson Georgine Kengne Djuetane, General Secretary Necta Montes, Treasurer Bronwyn Claire, the regional reports from Sunita Suna for Asia Pacific, Marcelo Leites for Latin America, Natia Tsintsadze for Europe, Elsy Wakil for Middle East, Yenny Delgado for North America, Lydia Nabunya for Africa and the WSCF Centennial Fund Board Chairperson Salters Sterling. These reports generated discussions and decisions for the continued transition work of the Federation towards sustainability in the next two years.
The life of the 108 member movements was also discussed recognizing their diverse orientation, historical background and contexts. Regional executive staff shared their preliminary assessment on the strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the movements within their regions. While there is visible increase in movement life and activities in the Middle East, there is a decline in Asia Pacific and Africa, where only a few movements are consistently active. Movements in Latin America and the US are in the revival process, while half of the movements in Europe with institutionalized structures are active.
The Executive Committee decided among other matters, the following strategic decisions:
- The holding of the WSCF 37th General Assembly in Germany on June 2020 hosted by SCM Germany and WSCF Europe Region. A Thematic Working Group was formed to work and submit to the Assembly Planning Committee (APC) and ExCo the proposal for the 37th General Assembly theme this July.
- Strengthening and prioritizing the Federation’s work on Bible and Theology through the work of the Director for Bible and Theology. The position’s mandate is focused on the thematic preparations for the upcoming General Assembly in the next two years.
- The formation of a new WSCF Staff Model Working Group to continue and prepare new proposals for the WSCF staff model and to develop the regional processes of discussion for the consideration and approval of the 37th General Assembly.
- Approval of the Fundraising Campaign Plan “ALL in One Boat”, a new approach in building financial solidarity within the family of the Federation involving student members, senior friends and supporters of WSCF to raise funds for the core needs of the Federation in the succeeding years.
The ExCo congratulated and thanked the valuable service of Elsy Wakil, the out-going WSCF Executive in the Middle East. In her words of appreciation to Elsy, Georgine Kengne Djeutane, WSCF Chairperson, highlighted the significance of Elsy’s role as the first woman WSCF staff in the region and her contribution in paving the way for greater women leadership and participation in the life of Federation. The ExCo also welcomed Christopher Alexander Chimangeni from Malawi as the incoming Executive for Africa who will be joining the global staff team in July.
The meeting was financially supported by the WSCF Centennial Fund, with contributions from members of the Executive Committee, GMKI National Executive Committee and GMKI senior friends coordinated by Jannes Hutagalung, GMKI senior member and WSCF Centennial Fund Board member.