Ecumenist at heart, her role will further deepen ecumenical ties
New appointee proposes vibrant communication desk and ‘Asia Watch’
CHIANG MAI, Thailand —It is a big honour for the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Christian community.
Its biggest follower, Mrs Susan Jacob, has joined the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) as Consultant for Communications from January 2012. Susan thus becomes the first-ever Indian Orthodox woman to be employed in the CCA. She will have tenure of two years and will be based at its HQ at Chiang Mai in Thailand.
The Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), earlier called East Asia Christian Conference, is a regional ecumenical organisation representing 17 National Councils and 100 churches in 21 countries in the Asia Pacific region. CCA was constituted by a decision of churches, national councils of churches and national Christian councils.
Rev Dr Henriette Hutabarat Lebang from Indonesia is the present General Secretary.
Susan’s experience as Executive Committee member will help her immensely in her new role.
As member of the Executive Committee and the General Committee of the CCA from 2005-2010, Susan brings with her ample skills to the post that she has been appointed to. An ecumenist at heart, she represented the Church at the CCA Assembly and at the Assembly of the National Council of Churches in India.
Susan who served as a member of the drafting committee of WCC represented the MOSC community along with a five-member delegation at the International Ecumenical Peace Conference (IEPC) held in Kingston, Jamaica, in May 2011.
At CCA, Susan will strive to keep the Orthodox presence alive in Asian Ecumenical forum.
Says Susan: “I see my presence as a link between CCA and my mother Church. It would help me to be instrumental in strengthening ecumenical ties and the relationship we have with the CCA and all the other member churches; to make sure that the Malankara Orthodox Church is within the loop of all communications and all other activities that are planned for the men, women, youth, clergy and laity; that the Church in turn responds in time, pays the membership fee because any relationship is a two-way system.”
Envisaging a larger role for the communications desk, Susan, proposes a kind of Asia watch, in which events are closely watched and analysed, so that the role of the CCA and the Churches can be discussed, shared and passed on for comment to a wider audience.
“It also gives me the opportunity to give more visibility to the experts in our Church who can be resource people and suggest participants for CCA programmes. A data base of experts from all fields and a record of participants are also being contemplated,” adds Susan.
A major project she is going to take up is having a profile of member churches of CCA online and is presently working out on its framework. Susan is also a social activist trying to be a Christian in a secular world.
Academically, she has a M Phil in Women’s Studies and a Master in Literature and BEd. She also pursued a Diploma in Journalism from the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. She also edits Agape, the bulletin of the Madras Diocese.
Her theological interest pertains to theology of nature, peace and expressions of feminine character and nature that upholds and respects feminism; also interested in church history, icons and women saints.
Married to P V Jacob, Susan is a member of the St Peters and St Paul’s Church, Koyambedu, Chennai.