The Association of Christian Universities and Colleges in Asia (ACUCA) held its first virtual thanksgiving service and fellowship, which was posted December 9, 2020 on ACUCA’s online platforms.
Silliman University (SU) led in organizing and hosted the two-part event because Dr. Betty Cernol McCann, SU president, is the current ACUCA president with Dr. Wilma M. Tejero, SU Economics Department head, as the ACUCA secretary-general.
With the theme “Hope and Unity in this Time of Pandemic,” Tejero said the event provides a venue for ACUCA member institutions to gather virtually and “find strength” from each other.
“The Secretariat wants to see that not even COVID-19 can stop the gathering of committed leaders of these educational Christian institutions in Asia. I hope that this will be the start of a much higher level of commitment among member institutions in pursuing the objectives of the association,” said Tejero.
In her words of welcome during the thanksgiving service, McCann said the Association can serve to provide mutual support and encouragement for its member institutions.
“We in colleges and universities that profess the Christian faith all the more need to be in solidarity to tighten the bond of Christian fellowship. With God’s guidance and grace, we can be each other’s comfort and support in our mission of teaching and learning, of generating and producing knowledge, and of providing continuous help to those in need,” said McCann.
McCann also encouraged ACUCA member institutions to be active in their faith despite the pandemic.
“In this health crisis, we are not to wash our hands in the responsibility to be active witnesses to the constant care and protection given by our Lord Most High,” said McCann.
Due to COVID-19, Tejero said the ACUCA Executive Committee had to cancel two of its events this year: the Biennial Conference and Student Camp. The virtual event, said Tejero, is an alternative way for ACUCA member institutions to continue strengthening the ties between its members and foster collaboration among them.
Students, professors, and heads of the 69 ACUCA member institutions in the following countries are participating in the event: Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Myanmar, Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand.
During the thanksgiving service, students, faculty members, and heads of participating institutions shared messages of hope and prayers for 2021.
Dr. Fr. Viju Devassy of Christ University India delivered the Scripture reflection during the Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service, which was the event’s highlight.
“Christmas during this pandemic is a crucial time…for us to unite together, support our brothers and sisters around the world, especially in Asia. Through the efforts of our institutions, let us make the weak, strong; the timid, confident; the anxious, courageous; the sick, healthy; the poor, self-reliant; the unhappy, contented; the lonely, hopeful; the indifferent, passionate; the hateful, kind and good,” said Devassy in his reflection.
The virtual fellowship, which is the second part of the event, will be on December 23 and will be live-streamed on the same platforms.