Creation Care and the Gospel Conference: Southeast Asia

17 - 21 Mar 2014 Manila, Philippines

This conference was one of a series of events in the Lausanne Creation Care Network’s global creation care campaign which runs from 2014 through 2016.  Emerging from the Lausanne Global Consultation on Creation Care and the Gospel held in Jamaica in November 2010, each of these conferences is designed to help participants develop creation care movements in their own countries. (Learn more about the global campaign.)

The stated goal of the Lausanne Global Creation Care Campaign is to ‘jumpstart national creation care movements’ in up to 30 countries over the next three years. It is a goal that has been described as ‘audacious’ and ‘breathtaking’, and even those of us working on the campaign have at times wondered how achievable it is.

However, by the end of our first campaign event, the Southeast Asia Regional Conference on Creation Care and the Gospel, the Philippines had already appointed a national Creation Care Coordinator. Within 48 hours, two participants from Hong Kong had begun talking with one of the pastors of their home church about doing a creation care event for their congregation. And we are hearing of similar efforts with InterVarsity in Indonesia, the Burmese Baptist churches in Myanmar, and among professionals in Taiwan. Our goal, seeing actual creation care movements started in many countries, suddenly seems within reach.

Ninety participants from nine regional countries met from 17-21 March 2014 in Pampanga, Philippines, north of metro Manila for five days. The conference program was built on three themes that came out of Jamaica: God’s Word (theology), God’s World (science), and God’s Work (our response). While some resource speakers came from outside of the region, at least 75 percent of the content was provided by local participants, a fact that was noted and appreciated.

The last two days allowed time for national groups to begin developing action plans for their own countries. Discussions were intense: participants were taking responsibility for their own homelands seriously, and we expect to see much fruit from these planning sessions in the future.

The conference ended with a moving ceremony in which participants signed their names to a 4’ by 8’ copy of the Jamaica Call to Action. As a minor point of information, this final piece of the conference came from Bishop Tendero, conference host, who not only designed the banner but managed to get it printed in less than 12 hours. We were hoping for this kind of spontaneous creativity throughout the campaign and were pleased to see it manifest itself so clearly in this first event.

The Global Campaign as a whole is a partnership between Care of Creation and A Rocha International, working together under the umbrella of the Lausanne Creation Care Network. Both lead partners are committed to including other partners whenever possible. The SE Asia Conference partnership included the WEA Creation Care Task Force, as represented by Chris Elisara, Task Force Director; the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), our host organization and the WEA affiliate for the Philippines; OMF International; and Tearfund.