We Are Church Intl.

Asian Theology Forum 2017

We Are Church at the Asian Theology Forum - July 2017



Martha Heizer from We Are Church-Austria represented the international movement at the Asian Youth academy /Asian Theology Forum in Jakarta, Indonesia, in July. She invites you to share her experience and joy in making new friends.  She writes:

At the beginning of the meeting we were divided into several groups. I was in Group 6 which stayed in Milas, a community devoted to organic farming and food sustainability.


In twos we were made very welcome by local families who shared with us their Muslim tradition. We planted strawberries and chilly, we learned new skills, we cooked in the families and ate together. Through presentations made by our new friends we discovered more about their lives, culture, hopes and aspirations.





Left: our group and our hosts




Right: My teacher

We moved on to Jakarta for the Forum and Academy.

Pictures from the Asian Theology Forum - 1


The „Disaster Oasis Training Center“ was a marvellous venue. Little brick houses and water and flowers. It was built in order to help people after disasters – and there are many in Indonesia: earth quakes, vulcano eruptions, floods…



At AYA we had some country reports: from Vietnam; from India; about Indigenous Peoples; Bangladesh; Myanmar; Indonesia.

And there were some speeches about the themes of our earlier visits and about young leaders in Asia: developing leadership; community-based movements of young activists; reconciliation and peace-building among religions and societies…

One afternoon we had an outing to Ganjuran Church, the biggest Catholic pilgrimage in Indonesia (4000 people every 1st. Friday).

There are beautiful pictures on Google.

Ganjuran Church that was built in 1927 is not just a place to contemplate, but it also offers an opportunity to see the global Jesus in local appearance, wearing the Javanese clothes named surjan while listening to gamelan.



The Asian Youth Day was celebrated there too!


The Cultural Evening

We had a cultural night.

Many of the participants wore their traditional clothes.

An Evening of Music

One evening we were visited by a group of young Muslims. They gave us a concert.

They came from an Islamic Boarding School: pesantren Aswaja Nusantare, that is concerned in pluralism and multicultural issues. One of our groups spent time there at the beginning of the conference.


Presentation by Martha Heizer to AYA/ATF, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

First of all I want to tell you that I am very happy to be a Christian. I love the Catholic Church in which I was raised and in which I have lived since my birth. She is not perfect, but I definitely want to belong to her. It is my church. In her I met the living Lord and in her I meet people who experience the same. And, most importantly, we can speak about that and share our experiences and exchange points of views.

Our Lord taught us that God is our father and all people are on the same level as brothers and sisters. So I enjoy addressing you all as my brothers and sisters and I want to thank you from the depth of my heart for your invitation to come and speak to you here in this wonderful part of the world.  And I am very glad to have had the possibility to join you for the whole time of AYA/ATF. As we say in Austria: „You gave me mountains!“

All men and women are born equal. We are all on eye-level. So if we speak of justice that means equal rights to the whole mankind.

Christian churches did a lot in history to bring justice and peace to the world. I appreciate that very much. But they all, and especially my catholic church, could be a much more critical voice, ought to develop and show a much more sensitive social conscience as they in fact are doing nowadays. I think you all will agree when I maintain that the message of the church for the world is an absolutely good and a wholesome one. Just think of the Sermon of the Mount or the 10 Commandments -  which are nothing else but a guideline for a righteous and honest life. There are two commanments against greed e.g. For us from the reform movement We Are Church it is a big problem that the voice of our church is often enough too week or timid. One reason is that in the church itself structures of injustice and unfairness can still be made out.

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Asian Theology Forum - July 2017

Q&A-Feminists' Voices - I

1. Virginia Saldanha (India/Right) on Need of Dialogue between Asian Bishops and Laity for Renewing Asian Churches including FABC.

2. Martha Heizer (Austria/Middle) on The Urgent Agendas of "International Movement of We Are Church" for Church Reform as of Today.

3. Kochurani Abraham (India/Left) on "Bold for Change" in Addressing Misogyny and Patriarchal Culture in Asia.

Asian Theology Forum
31 July 2017
Yogyakarta, Indonesia

AYA /ATF conference - July 2017

Paul Hwang sends a message to Asian Bishops.

The last evening and final Mass

AYA /ATF in Jakarta, Indonesia, report by Martha Heizer

AYA/ATF 2017 in Yokyakarta, Indonesia

[ German ]

[ Final Statement from the forum ]

The „Asian Youth Academy/Asian Theology Forum“ is an annual conference organised by ALL (Asian Lay Leaders Forum). The coordinators are Paul Hwang, the director of ALL, and Felicia Dian Ravenska Parera. They make an enormous effort in fund raising, so they can offer the participants free travel and accomodation. This year 71 people from 13 countries had the possibility to attend the meeting. They all are young leaders within their Catholic organisations, mostly coming from universities. For three years even a member of We are Church International has been invited (Didier VanHutte, Jean-Pierre Schmitz and me this year). Kristina Viri and Hilda Karuniawan organised things on the local level as to shuttle services, rooms and meals and, above all, everything went very well indeed.

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