Emmanuel Mondal from the Church of Bangladesh attended the Anglican world’s key conference – ACC-15 in Auckland and arrived home charged with fresh hope of building global and regional strategic partnerships within Anglican Community.
Emmanuel said that the Church is in a minority in the many countries, and is the smallest faith community in south Asia. In these countries the Church is encountering increased oppression, persecution, social exclusion, and economic deprivation. There are challenges caused by climate change, food shortages and other factors and existing regional and global networks have been unable to address all these issues effectively.
Against this backdrop, the proposal to form the South Asia forum as discussed in ACC-15 is a very significant step. Our south Asia forum may provide a voice for regional cooperation and draw attention of policy makers to work together for common interests. Emmanuel added that we need to be more visible in our work to uphold humanity, and the formation of the South Asia forum might be a milestone towards that.
On a practical level, he pointed out that people in Europe can travel without visas to neighboring countries, but in Asia this is not possible. The region already has the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), but this has not yet been able to deliver solutions to some of our pressing challenges.
The planing for the South Asia forum is being actively taken forward by Moderator Bishop Samuel Azariah of Pakistan and the aim is to hold the first meeting in Sri Lanka immediately after Easter 2013. The Anglican Alliance strongly supports the building of such platform, which would also help the Alliance in its work of networking with partner churches.