On first leg of Asia trip, Kobia praises regional models of harmony in diversity

Asia's rich heritage and culture of being together in diversity should be adopted as a model which will further strengthen ecumenism in the 21st century," WCC general secretary, Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia said in an address to Asian and Hong Kong ecumenical and church leaders.

Kobia was speaking during a 5 July public reception organized by the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), the regional ecumenical organization with headquarters in Hong Kong. The WCC general secretary was on the first leg of a 5-25 July three-country trip to Hong Kong, Australia and Fiji.

Speaking later to a group of Buddhist and Christian leaders attending a WCC-CCA consultation on "Peace and harmony in religious diversity”, Kobia praised Asia's experience of interfaith living as a good example from which conflict-ridden societies could learn much.

In a 6 July address to an ecumenical youth gathering organized in the framework of the Hong Kong Christian Council's year-long 50th anniversary celebrations, Kobia called for "revitalization of the ecumenical movement through ecumenical formation of Christian youth".

Accompanied by WCC Asia secretary, Dr Mathews George Chunakara, CCA general secretary, Dr Ahn Jae Woong, and Hong Kong Christian Council general secretary, Rev. Eric So, Kobia visited the chief executive and head of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, Mr Tung Chee Hwa. Here, Kobia expressed his hope that the government will continue to nurture its relationships with Hong Kong's churches, which have been making significant contributions in the field of education and social services.

The WCC general secretary attended a number of other meetings organized by the Hong Kong Christian Council, the Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China, and the Methodist Church in Hong Kong.

Archbishop Peter Kwong of the Anglican Church, the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church, Joseph Zen, and Metropolitan Nikitas Lulias of the Orthodox Church in Hong Kong took the opportunity of Kobia's visit to congratulate the new WCC general secretary on his appointment.

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