A significant event in the consultation was presenting the status report of Church of Bangladesh Social Development Programmes and giving an overview of the strategic plan which is under preparation. For the first time such review has been placed before consultation along with a long term strategic plan for development programme of Church of Bangladesh.
The consultation was opened with a welcome address by Synod secretary Mr. Joseph S. Mondal. And that was followed by a reception of the overseas partners and latera cultural programme was staged that reflected the culture and diverse beauties of our nature. The whole consultation was theme based, except the presentation of status report of CBSDP and its future strategic plan presented in the second day.
The first day : Discussion and Outcome
The first day session was chaired and inaugurated by deputy Moderator Samuel S Mankhin of Church of Bangladesh. In his address he focused on the evangelical needs in building a better life and safeguarding the creation of God. He thanked the partners for attending the consultation and hoped for a successful discussion and stronger partnership in future.
The thematic paper of the first consultation on `Hope for Fullness of Life’ was presented by the Moderator of Church of Bangladesh and Bishop of Dhaka Diocese Rt. Rev. Paul S. Sarker. The paper discussed the fullness of life from different perspectives and contexts including Christ, Children, Creation, the Church and concluded as – it is a gift of God and that can be achieved through owning Christ, and it is a process that may undergo severe suffering, but ends with abundance of love for sharing with others.
The second paper in first day consultation on `Challenges and opportunities to witnessing Christ : Bangladesh context ‘ was presented by Rev. Hemen Halder. The paper discussed the challenges and opportunities in witnessing the Christ in Bangladesh context.
The discussion on the theme papers brought out 5 priority areas for COB as well as its partners and later the participants sat in small groups to identify the activities to address the priority concerns:
The priority concerns were:
- God’s Mission in the context of Bangladesh
- Leadership in the Church
- Young people
The activities identified to address the priority concerns
After submission of the group discussions the following activities identified in plenary session to address the priority concerns
- Raising awareness that we are all involved in God’s mission and not leave it to others
- Integration of mission and diaconal work of the Church
- Focusing on leadership building at all levels in all ministries, with major focus on youth, particularly women beyond the fellowship activities
- Need to develop bible-based comprehensive spiritual programme
- Need to ask the children and the young people what they want from the church, what they feel they need
- Building capacity of the clergy and staff of the church
- Creating a new mindset that people contribute to the church; not the church contributes to the people
- Need to change from ‘charity’ mindset to ‘development’ mentality
- Help the rising middle class to take the responsibilities in society
- Nurturing children and youth with the facility to have the access to electronic media and social network
- The Church of Bangladesh must focus on the spiritual development of the young people to counter balance the influence of materialism and consumerism
- Need self-reliance urgently depending upon the resources that COB has. This needs to be an ongoing process
- Reviewing of the mission, vision, and values of the church