The fifth Annual Christian Forum for Reconciliation in Northeast Asia was held May 25- June 2, 2018, in Kyoto, Japan, with the theme of "Rising Nationalism and Christian Witness for Such a Time as This".
Initiated by Duke Divinity School Center for Reconciliation, the Mennonite Central Committee, and colleges and institutions in Northeast Asia, the forum is held annually. The fourth forum was conducted in Korea.
About 90 Christians from the United States, mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea attended it. They meditated on Corinthians 5: 17-20.
The sponsor stated that to be faithful to the reconciliation calling was not easy. The past year saw increasing tension and hope of peace in Northeast Asia, so it was more important to gather at this moment, especially the time after Pentecost.
Continuing the previous style, the forum started with worship and devotionals in the morning and ended with evening Taizé worship. The activities included plenary and workshops sessions.
The most outstanding part was an open lecture addressed by Stanley Hauerwas, the most influential Christian ethicist in the late 20th century, and a discussion joined by him. The retired longtime professor at Duke University gave a lecture titled "The Church in Asia: A Barthian Meditation". Dr. Hauerwas was named "America's Best Theologian" by the U.S.-based Time magazine in 2001. His works Resident Aliens and The Peaceable Kingdom have been translated into Chinese, bringing a new view to the Chinese theological community.
On May 30, the participants asked questions and communicated with Dr. Hauerwas in a plenary discussion.
What was more, a half-a-day pilgrimage was taken during which the attendees visited local historical relics and ministries related to reconciliation and peace. They paid a visit to Nijō Castle, the Home of Hope for the local Korean immigrant community, and Kawaramachi Catholic Church built to commemorate martyrs.
The meeting concluded with a prayer.
- Translated by Karen Luo