“Understanding the Crucifixion Today/John 10:17-18
April 12, 2022
In commemoration and observance of the Holy Week, the Pacific Clergy Leadership Conference (PCLC) held a joint online fellowship with the World Clergy Leadership Conference (WCLC) last April 12, 2022, at 12:00 noon Sydney time. Navigating on the theme “Understanding the Crucifixion Today”/John 10:17-18, the meeting gathered 191 Zoom participants as well as 310 online attendees who joined through Facebook and YouTube, respectively.
Twenty-three nations across Asia Pacific, Africa, Europe and the Middle East as well as the UK and US joined the event.
To formally open the program, Archbishop Elias T. Soria, master of the ceremony and President of the Asian Clergy Leadership Conference, warmly welcomed the pastors, leaders, and other participants at the onset.
As a call to worship, youth singers from The Soul Winners for Christ Fellowship Church in the Philippines, rendered a beautiful and touching song entitled “Resurrecting”, befitting the theme of the fellowship.
Pastor Nelson Pervaz, a preacher from the Interdenominational and Community Churches in Australia gave the invocation.
Rev. Masaichi Hori, Regional President of FFWPU-Asia Pacific 2 and Chairman of PCLC Executive Committee, delivered the opening remarks citing the need for more prayers to end the war in Ukraine. He mentioned that as pastors and religious leaders, we need to take care of our people, mend bridges and recognize our role as not just limited within in our church. We need to encourage each other and connect the people to the great saving grace that has been given to us.
For the main message, Dr. Robert Kittel, Co-Chair of PCLC Executive Committee and Bishop Jesse Edwards, Member of American Clergy Leadership Conference Executive Committee, each shared their thoughts on the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, how it historically happened, what its significant meaning is according to the Principle and its impact in our lives today.
Dr. Kittel highlighted how the crucifixion is part of God’s covenant and partnership with Jesus and how without it, God’s salvation would not have been possible. However, he explained further that it is only a second recourse of God to make Jesus go the way of the cross as the first covenant between God and the Israelites was broken due to the latter’s faithlessness. It was the responsibility of God to prepare the Israelites and send them the Messiah. But in return, it is the Jews’ responsibility to accept and follow the Messiah. That did not happen, thus; Jesus had to lay his life on the cross to rebuild the covenant with God. Jesus’ victory on the cross protected the foundation for the Messiah, allowed God’s Providence to continue and opened the way for worldwide Christianity to receive salvation through the resurrection. In realizing God’s Providence, it is always necessary for man to carry out his portion of responsibility as part of his partnership and covenant with God.
Bishop Edwards, on his part, talked powerfully about how Jesus did not just de but died with power and authority. Though the crucifixion looked like an apparent defeat for him, he won the victory for God and defeated the archangel. As a symbol of Christianity, the cross today is our glory. Although many people today see the cross in many ways even to the point of desecrating it, the cross should retain its symbol of power. It should make us understand about Jesus covenant relationship with God, our maker. Jesus had a contract with God. If the crucifixion did not happen, Jesus could have built a family years ago. Because of man’s failure, he had to choose to go the way of the cross on the condition that he will be resurrected on the 3rd day by God.
According to Bishop Edwards, he knows exactly what the cross means to him. Jesus died for our sins and if we are willing to walk with him, the cross will be a very powerful symbol of victory over sin and victory over death.
Following the main message is an offering song entitled “Blessings” rendered by Ms. Celine Louise Deapera from the Philippines. Everyone then posed for a commemorative photo of the event.
Rev. Dr. Patrick McInerney, SSC, Director of the Columban Centre for Christian-Muslim Relations in Australia as well as Rev. Dr. Anton Tarigan, Senior Pastor of Tower and Praise Church in Indonesia, gave their representative reflections on the message of the speakers as well as on the general theme of the fellowship.
Rev. McInerney gave a deep and though provoking commentary on how Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross God’s way of showing us in the most dramatic form possible how much he loves us in his infinite vulnerability. The existence of war, violence and suffering in the world should motivate us more to work for peace and justice for all people for the coming of God’s kingdom on earth.
Rev. Tarigan, on the other hand, spoke about how Jesus was not under the authority of the Romans and that he willingly lay down his life on the cross. He added that Jesus’ crucifixion taught us humility and obedience.
In unity with the worldwide call for prayers to stop the war in Ukraine, Dr. Glovina Williams, Co-Founder and CEO of the Hallelluia International Ministries in the US; Most Rev. Nolly C. Boco, Auxiliary Bishop from the Diocese of Antipolo in the Philippines; Rev. Dantje Mumek, Senior Pastor of the United Pentecostal Church in Indonesia and Rev. Canon Jenny Chalmers, Vicar General of the Diocese of Waipu in New Zealand, each gave their prayer for peace to finally settle in the European Region especially in Ukraine and its borders. They all sincerely prayed for Russia and Ukraine to come to terms with each other and work for peace and reconciliation.
The congregation then all prayed individually. The MC gave his closing statement and announced the next schedules of WCLC webinar on April 27 as well as its joint conference with IAPD on May 4. He also announced that the next PCLC online fellowship will be held on May 17, 2022.
The meeting ended on a high note with the closing entitled “The Old Rugged Cross” sung by Mrs. Inga Mapa and friends from the Tongan Community in California.