Embodying an Ecumenical Church at Papua

goodmorningpapua.com. – The entry of the Gospel into the Land of Papua, delivered by two missionaries Carl Wilhelm Ottow and Johan Gottlod Geissler to Mansinam Island on February 5, 1855, is celebrated as Preaching the Gospel Day (HPI) in Papua. At the beginning of 2021, for the sake of commemorating the 166th of HPI in Tanah Papua, the Communion of Churches of the Land of Papua (PGGP) together with the Religious Communication Forum (FKUB) of Papua Province held various activities, including a webinar entitled Churches of Papua Towards Oikoumene, at the Church of Catholic Parish of Christ the Light of the World, Wamena, Jayapura.

PGI General Chairman Pdt. Gomar Gultom emphasized that the mission of churches in Papua today is to present the church in the form of a servant. Like Jesus who has become a slave for His efforts to communicate with humans. So the presence of a communicative church is a historical duty that cannot be negotiated. In addition, church attendance was not only for him, but was called and sent away so that he could bear fruit (John 15:16).

it is churches in Papua that united to form an oikoumene, making the Land of Papua a peaceful land for all to live in, including all inhabitants of the universe.

In the Chairperson of the PGI’s view, with patience, loyalty and humility, as shown by Ottow and Geissler, it is easier for the churches to see Papua as a field of common services.

A similar view was also conveyed by the General Chairman of PGLII Pdt. Dr. Ronny Mandang. In his opinion, the church must move outside and the life of the church must be communicated with anyone in the world, as well as in Papua. The church must see things with a servant’s heart, so that our ecumenical is complete. This is a challenge for our togetherness. The flag of the church must be on the heart, but our movement must be an ecumenical one.

Ronny Mandang added that what is needed now is repentance and reconciliation. And do not think about each own doctrine, but see the different ones as loved by Christ.

Meanwhile, the Bishop of Jayapura. Mgr. Dr. Leo Laba Ladjar, OFM said, for realizing of ecumenicalism, a harmonious life must be built by churches at Papua. In his view, the Catholic Church officially carried out the ecumenical movement at the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). The Catholic Church seeks to intensify various efforts for the restoration of Christian unity, unity in faith and morality.

So if ecumenism is to be successful, what is needed now is a repentance of the heart, self-denial, and getting rid of our own selfishness. From there, it to arise a strong desire to be united. There is communion and unity in pluralism, and the church to grow toward that point.

Further explained, the church is not an organization, but a living organism like a human body, which grows and lives slowly but has a clear direction. In this case, the ecumenism movement holds the old saying of the Fathers in the second century, namely, in terms of the principle, it need to unite, regarding to doubtfull of  the existence of freedom, it is not problem, since in everything the needed one is love.

Therefore, if we want to establish ecumenism now in Papua we do not force unity in all matters. But how can the principle of Christian love be fully realized, including in dealing with the current situation based on the principle of love.

The diversity of the church should be a blessing, not a block or a barrier. Therefore we must complement each other. It is what God’s churches in Papua must do.

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