From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Warm feelings from Thailand served up during WMD breakfast

Date 21 Jun 2002 08:04:46 -0400

Note #7307 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:


Warm feelings from Thailand served up during WMD breakfast

CCT moderator gives thanks for partnership with PC(USA)

by Evan Silverstein

COLUMBUS, OH - Before the eggs and bacon could cool, those attending the breakfast of the Worldwide Ministries Division (WMD) had started learning about partnership with the Church of Christ in Thailand.

The gathering of about 150 people at the June 20 breakfast included WMD staffers and officials from the Scioto Valley Presbytery, which is hosting the 214th General Assembly here.

Breakfast-goers heard from the Rev. Boonratna Boayen, moderator of the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT), a long-time overseas partner of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

He gave thanks for the two denominations' close partnership, which he described as stronger than ever, though temporarily strained after the PC(USA)recently reduced financial support of the Thailand denomination.

"At first it caused unhappiness and difficulty to our local people," Boayen said. "But God worked it out for good and that is what we want it to be. The people started to look at themselves and found that God gives dreams, blessings and resources to carry on His ministry, not only among ourselves, but for others elsewhere in the whole world."

Boayen also gave thanks for the partnership carved out 11 years ago between the CCT and the Scioto Valley Presbytery.

"We are grateful for the great work you have done for our people in Thailand for so long," Boayen said, adding his appreciation for the resources and ministry of Presbyterian mission workers through the years.

Boayen thanked the Presbyterian Church for its influence in "bringing the Gospel to Thailand about 170 years ago," and described the difficulties his church has since faced building its membership among Thailand's dominate Buddhist population. 

"Even though you can see that the growth of the church maybe seems slow," he said, "now, after 170 years, you have only 100,000 Christians under the Church of Christ in Thailand. So you will see that the church growth in a Buddhist country is not easy. But God's work continues from generation to generation." 

Boayen said the CCT currently has four districts in partnership with four PC(USA) presbyteries and also some local congregational partnerships as well. 

"We do hope that these partnerships, relationships between the Church of Christ in Thailand and the PC(USA) will be growing and will be expanding worldwide," he said. 

The Rev. Richard S. Hays, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Waverly, OH, spoke on the partnership with CCT on behalf of the Scioto Valley Presbytery.

Since the partnership between the two was finalized in 1991, Hays said, various groups from his presbytery, including youth, have traveled to Thailand to meet with CCT representatives. He said groups from the Thailand denomination has also visited Columbus.

The Rev. Fahed Abu-Akel, moderator of the 214th General Assembly, who received a standing ovation upon his arrival at the breakfast, spoke briefly of the importance of partnership.

"To me partnership is the best thing we can be excited about," Abu-Akel said. 
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