The Association of Christian Universities and Colleges in Asia (ACUCA) held a virtual Midweek Thanksgiving Service hosted by the Silliman University (SU) Church, which was live-streamed May 5, 2021 on the SU Church’s Facebook page.
Representatives of ACUCA member-institutions virtually attended the service, which focused on Isaiah 65:17-25 and 2 Corinthians 5:17-18. Dr. Wilma Milo Tejero, ACUCA secretary-general, delivered the scripture reading.
Rev. Dr. Noriel C. Capulong, senior pastor of the SU Church, delivered the meditation message on the scriptural text, titled “Partnership for a Truly New Normal.”
In his message, Capulong said the transformation and renewal of God’s creation is the “ultimate goal and mission of God” and it is where Christians and Christian institutions are called to participate.
“As partners within the ACUCA and also for all others, it is time for us to work together for a truly new normal in the new future that is coming guided by the vision of the prophet Isaiah; of his vision of the truly new heaven and new earth. And the foundation of that is the essential good news that we need to proclaim and witness to in ushering this new reality, and this essential good news is still Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior; the only one who makes all things new. It is not us, but He, is the one who will be bringing about the one new reality,” added Capulong.
Capulong said that the renewal process will involve “individual lives that are to be changed, families that will experience transformation, communities that will undergo renewal of values and perspectives, nations and structures that will undergo complete change of prioritization.”
This renewal process, said Capulong, is where ACUCA schools all over Asia can become “significant partners” as it requires a “complete value reorientation” in the programs and curricula of various schools.
Reflecting on the prophet Isaiah’s vision of a new heaven and a new earth, Capulong said this includes a “truly new humanity” wherein people have been transformed by God and are enjoying the fruits of their labor.
“In a transformed world, the victimizer will no longer victimize; the victim will no longer be a victim but both will be able to live together in harmony and reconciliation, being sustained by the same source of sustaining grace for all. Through Christ, this is truly the community of new beings in Christ. This is the vision of the new normal we want to aspire for and for ACUCA schools to work for by faith and by our stronger bond of unity as partners in this endeavor and by God’s grace, this is never impossible,” said Capulong.
Dr. Betty Cernol-McCann, SU and ACUCA president, emphasized in her welcome message the importance of partnerships and networks such as the ACUCA for educational institutions dealing with the changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We cannot be alone, we cannot be isolates in this pathway of desired changes in the way we think, feel, and act in this new age of education. The journey can be made less strenuous and more adventuresome, less anxiety-provoking, and with more daring encouraged if done as a collective in partnership with like-minded individuals and entities committed to the pursuit of a common vision; partnerships in teaching and learning, in research, in community engagement, certainly before this COVID health crisis and more so as we transition into the new realities of higher education are definitely steps in the right direction,” said McCann.
During the service, member-institutions participated in the Community Prayer, praying for various concerns existing in the whole Asian region.
The representatives who offered their short prayers were from Duta Wacana Christian University, Indonesia (Prayer for Teachers); Myanmar Institute of Theology, Mynamar (Prayer for the Community); Saint Paul University, Philippines (Prayer for the Government); Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong (Prayer for Students); Silliman University, Philippines (Prayer for the Vulnerable); Providence University, Taiwan (Prayer for Healing); Hannam University, South Korea (Prayer for Unity); Seogjapranata Catholic University, Indonesia (Prayer for Peace); and Keimyung University, South Korea (Prayer for Love).
Representatives of ACUCA member-institutions also performed “Still” during the service as an ACUCA Unity Song.