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Welcome remarks speakers at the international training on Cross-Cultural Religious Literacy (CCRL) for Christian school teachers.


IL News 004/2023

Jakarta – Leimena Institute together with IPEKA Christian School, Gloria Christian School, and Tritunggal Christian School collaborated to hold an international training on Cross-Cultural Religious Literacy (CCRL) for 170 teachers from these three schools. The training, which was held online from February 27 –March 3, 2023, aimed to build the right understanding and attitude to establish relationships in a multi-religious society, as well as encourage collaboration for the common good.

Executive Director of Leimena Institute, Matius Ho, explained that the CCRL training this time is the 27th class and also the first class for Christian religion teachers since the Leimena Institute launched the CCRL program in October 2021. So far, the number of alumni of said CCRL training has reached at least 4,000 religious teachers/instructors from 34 provinces in Indonesia.

“This class is the first for Christian school teachers because the previous 26 classes were for madrasas, Islamic boarding schools, and Islamic religious teachers and instructors,” said Matius during the opening session, Monday (02/27/2023).

Matius said CCRL is a simple framework in developing three competencies to relate to people of different religions, namely personal, comparative and collaborative.

“To make the approach more practical with the use of examples, this program involved sources from the three Abrahamic religions, namely Christianity, Islam and Judaism which have many similarities as well as fundamental differences. Major conflicts have frequently occurred between them, so the Abrahamic religions are a good example to understand the CCRL approach,” Matius stated.

Matius realizes that the ability to work with people of different religions does not grow by itself but must be continually strived for and trained with a humble attitude.

“This program can be said to be special for me, because we at the Leimena Institute and I personally have been trying for a long time to think of ways for Christians to continue to be actively and equally involved as citizens in building this nation and state,” he mused.

Rev. Handojo when delivering his presentation in the opening session.

Not a Compromise of Faith

Executive Director of IPEKA Christian School, Pdt. Handojo, hopes that the introductory CCRL training can facilitate Christian teachers to get to know various religions, so that they can also develop and teach proper tolerance to students. Handojo stated that all religious groups have people who are tolerant or extremist, so CCRL is needed to protect the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.

“This (CCRL) has become something that is valuable because whether we like it or not, we see our country as a pluralistic society empirically, so we ourselves need to grow for pluralism which is valued in order to coexist here in Indonesia,” Rev. Handojo added.

He emphasized that tolerance does not mean compromise of faith. Conversely, the Great Commission as a discipleship mandate goes hand in hand with tolerance because it is not carried out based on coercion but an awareness of God’s love and goodness.

The Lord Jesus and his disciples also set an example of tolerance by viewing others as equals without being condescending. For example, the story of the Canaanite/Syro-Phoenician woman (Matthew 15:21-28), the Samaritan woman (John 4:1-30), the Roman centurion (Matthew 8:5-23, Luke 7:1-10, John 4:46-53), Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-40), Peter and Cornelius (Acts 10), and others.

“This becomes the foundation when we live with other people. Whatever a person’s religion or background is, we must consider them as someone who must be valued,” said Rev. Handojo.

Yana Poedjianto from Gloria Christian School.

Interreligious Resource Speakers

General Coordinator of Gloria Christian Education Foundation, Yana Poedjianto, said Christian schools are called to educate the younger generation to be salt and light of the world.

“Amid our limitations, sometimes we misunderstand other religions, even being wary of them, which is why we need this program in order to learn. We long for enlightenment so that we and our students will be equipped to live in a diverse society,” declared Yana.

A CCRL training participant, who is in the Spiritual, Mission, and Diaconia Section of Gloria Christian Education Foundation, Surabaya, Bambang Widiyanto, commented that Christian teachers and Christian schools play a role in bringing colors to the spirit of tolerance in Indonesia, which is a pluralistic society.

Another participant, Principal of Tritunggal Christian High School, Semarang, Liem Rachel Octavia Christina, invited fellow teachers to take advantage of the training opportunities to gain new insights as provisions in living through a diverse coexistence in Indonesia.

“We cannot demand or hope that our environment will always be the same or homogeneous. It is precisely because God allows us to be in a diverse environment that we have more opportunities to share Christ’s love and become role models,” Rachel added.

Vice Principal of IPEKA Palembang Christian Junior High School, Kurjini Gayami Simatupang, encouraged the CCRL training participants to have a spirit of lifelong learning, so that as educators they can be ready to face the challenges of the times, especially in a heterogeneous environment.

This CCRL training class for Christian teachers brought in interreligious resource speakers including Rev. Ferry Mamahit (Lecturer at Southeast Asia Bible Seminary), Prof. Alwi Shihab (Senior Fellow of Leimena Institute), Prof. Amin Abdullah (Member of the Steering Committee for the Pancasila Ideology Development Agency), Dr. Chris Seiple (Senior Fellow of the University of Washington), Rabbi David Rosen (International Director for Interfaith Relations of the American Jewish Committee), and Yosie Pauline Modo (Managing Director of Kalam Kudus Christian School, Dumai). [IL/Chr]

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