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Anglicans, Lutherans and Buddhist forge closer ties at historic meeting in Myanmar (18.1.17)

It is hoped that a historic meeting of Anglicans, Lutherans and Buddhists in Myanmar this week (16-20 January 2017) will pave the way for closer inter faith co-operation and shared development initiatives.

The consultation – officially titled ‘Voices of Hope in a New Era: Consultation on Anglican-Lutheran-Buddhists Relations – is happening at a time of ongoing political transition in Myanmar following 60 years of turbulence.

USPG Director for Global Relations Rachel Parry, speaking from the consultation in Yangon, said: ‘The significance of this meeting cannot be underestimated. Amid many changes taking place in the country, this open consultation is a key indicator of these changing times.’

She added: ‘For the Church in Myanmar, we hope this meeting will be an opportunity for them to demonstrate their openness of vision and to share with the wider community their longstanding and dedicated approach to peace building. There is much we can all learn from each other if we are truly open and if we are genuinely committed to the intensely practical work of peace.’

The consultation is being hosted by the Church of the Province of Myanmar, organised with the support of the Network for Inter Faith Concerns across the Anglican Communion (NIFCON), the World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation. USPG is a partner.

Myanmar is a majority-Buddhist country but has a strong Christian tradition, with approximately 60,000 Anglicans and 26,000 Lutherans.

Rachel said: ‘It is as always a deep honour to meet people in Myanmar. This consultation brings together people from many other parts of Asia, both Christian and Buddhist, to share and learn. There are people here from Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, India and Sri Lanka. I have met some incredible people here. The openness and willingness to share, understanding and co-operate is enormous. There is so much we can achieve together.’

A similar consultation involving diaspora communities was organised successfully by NIFCON (with USPG support) in England in 2014 to bring together Anglicans, Lutherans and Hindus, which led to deeper understanding and further co-operation.

It is hoped that the Myanmar consultation will lead to the production of a guide book for sharing throughout the Anglican Communion on how to develop links between Christian and Buddhist communities.

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USPG is supporting a five-year strategy of the Internal Province of West Africa.

The strategy will address investment, governance, communication, post-Ebola reconstruction and livelihoods in Cameroon.


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