Tuesday, November 24, 2009

YWCA of Negeri Sembilan celebrates World Week of Prayer and Fellowship

SEREMBAN, Malaysia (Nov 24) - The Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) of Negeri Sembilan celebrated World Week of Prayer and Fellowship with a talk by Rev. Fr. Michael Chua, who is the Parish Priest of the Church of Visitation, Seremban, and the Ecclesiastical Assistant of the Archdiocesan Ministry of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur. Fr. Chua spoke on theme, "Striving for Global Citizenship for All."

Fr. Chua started by explaining both the positive and negative effects of globalisation. Globalisation has brought about the growth of cross cultural contacts and the spread of multiculturalism. On the hand, he cautioned that globalisation may also result in cultural imperialism and extinction of authentic cultures in the East and the South, as they are overwhelmed by an onslaught of Western popular culture through the media and the free market system.

"One of the major barriers to building a multicultural community is ethnocentrism" he added. He explained ethnocentrism as "the assumption that the worldview of one’s culture is central to all reality." He then explained the various forms and levels of cultural sensitivity and insensitivity, some more subtle than others.

He then proposed a method of building relationships with people from other cultures and beliefs: "Creating space and respecting space." There is close connection between the need to take risks in making space for others and the need to respect the legitimate boundaries of others. If not, any efforts in building relationships will devolve into disrespectful intrusion.

The YWCA of Negeri Sembilan is a member of the gloabl network of the YWCA, a movement of women working for social and economic change around the world. It advocates for young women’s leadership, peace, justice, human rights and sustainable development, both on a grassroots and global scale. It is the the largest women’s organization in the world, and the second oldest organization of its kind, second only to the Relief Society.

The original Christian focus is still strong in many of the national associations, but some have changed their focus to social programs and services and mission-based topics. The YWCA of Negeri Sembilan, however, has taken on a multireligious and multicultural composition, made up of Christians from various denominations, Hindus, Buddhists and even some Muslims. This talk was attended by over 50 members who consisted not only of Christians, but also Hindus, Buddhists, and a Muslim.

The World Week of Prayer and Fellowship is an annual event of the World YWCA. It presents an opportunity to pray and act together on a shared issue. This year’s theme is ‘Striving for Global Citizenship for All’ presents an opportunity for reflection on what makes good citizens, and how our contribution as individuals and a movement can create a safe and secure world.

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