The 9th bi-annual Asian Lutheran International Conference (ALIC) took place in Medan, Indonesia in early February, coinciding with the Asian Reformation anniversary observance on February 1. With 150 delegates from 9 caucuses explored “Re-Visioning Reformation in Asia” with three speakers, including a keynote address by Prof. Paul Rajashekar of Philadelphia’s Lutheran Theological Seminary who spoke on “Significance of the Reformation for the Church”.
The delegates included the Chinese, Hmong, India, Indonesian, Laotian, Japanese, Korean, Filipino and Thai people of Lutheran faith and were mainly from the ELCA Asian/Pacific Islander Association. Most of the Asian churches have a partnership through the ELCA’s Global Mission companionship program.
Among individuals present where those from Indonesia’s Protestant Christian Batak Church, representing the country’s 4.3 million members, the largest Lutheran Church in Asia and the 7th largest in the Lutheran World Federation. Rev. Joseph Bocko, Ph.D., ELCA’s African National Ministries Program Director, elaborated.
“At the same time, Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world 204,847,000 which is almost 90% of the entire Indonesian population. As a result, Christian witness and solidarity [in this country] is so powerful.”
Additional speakers included Mrs. Manhei Yip from Hong Kong who spoke on the “Impact of the Reformation on Asian Christianity” while Prof. Rospita Sihaan from Indonesia spoke on the “Re-Visioning the Reformation in Asian Cultural Context”. The Rev. Andrew Yee led a panel of young adults for an afternoon under the theme “Reformation and New Generation”.
Rev. Dr. Pongsak Limthonguiratn, Program Director for Asian and Pacific Islander Ministries, was the coordinator of the conference.
“The conference was a great experience of learning, working, worshipping, praying, playing and getting to know one another,” said Rev. Bocko.