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PC(USA) World Mission video series to highlight Myanmar

Worship, history of mission, social and economic issues among topics to be addressed

by Scott O’Neill | Presbyterian News Service

Photo by Gayatri Malhotravia via Unsplash

LOUISVILLE — A new video/webinar series highlighting the Christian mission in Myanmar (formerly Burma) kicked off in late December and will run through February 2023. The effort, sponsored by the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s World Mission and its partners in the region, will provide context around the Southeast Asia country’s diverse culture and its fragile economic and political situation following violent regime change in 2021.

The first video in the series, titled “Christmas Carols,” was offered Dec. 28 via Facebook by Burmese communities in diaspora. Since 2020, Christian communities in Myanmar have not been able to celebrate as they used to. This program was designed to be a symbol of solidarity from those displaced from Myanmar to the communities in their home country, according to Hery Ramambasoa, World Mission’s area coordinator for Asia and The Pacific.

“The public will discover the talent and the power of worship in this country,” stated Ramambasoa.  

Christmas Carols ran on Wednesday, Dec. 28, and was seen on the World Mission Facebook page. Watch a replay here.

A choir sings as part of the Christmas Carols celebration. (Screenshot)

Christmas Carols included a greeting by the Rev. Jacob Rodwala;  “O Come, All Ye Faithful” as sung in the Tedim language, which is from Chin State in northwest Myanmar; “Joyful Generation” sung in Mizo, which is spoken by the Mizo people in northeastern India, Myanmar and eastern Bangladesh; “Winter Night’s Witness” as sung by Zo Rebecca, an American Burmese singer who died tragically in California in 2011; a reading in Burmese from Luke 2:1-20; a song performed by seven people singing in Falam, a Chin language spoken along the border of India and Myanmar; a rendition of “Let’s Worship the Newborn King” by John Thanga, a recording artist from the Chin tribe in Myanmar; and the finale, George F. Handel’s “Hallelujah!” sung in English in a packed church.

Hery Ramambasoa (Photo by Kathy Melvin)

Ramambasoa believes this series will provide participants critical information on Myanmar’s complex history and give them better insight on how to best assist the churches in Myanmar.

“Opposition parties in Myanmar are currently not able to express themselves freely and are often violently repressed, and violence and repression continue as we prepare for the holidays,”  Ramambasoa said during the Advent season.

“Since little is known about Myanmar in the U.S. and other parts of the world, these videos will provide knowledge about the country and its people, as well as its extremely complex history,” Ramambasoa said. “Each video will be led by specialists from Myanmar or the region.”

In addition to the Christmas carol-themed first video, future installments include:

  • Jan. 12, 2023 — History of Christian Missions in Burma
  • Jan. 26, 2023 — Social and Economic Issues
  • Feb. 1, 2023 — Ecumenical Prayer Service (commemorating the violent regime change in 2021)

The Presbyterian Church in Myanmar has about 30,000 members and has been a global partner of the PC(USA) for several decades, according to Ramambasoa.

“The PC(USA) also supports the work of the Agape Hospital and the Theological College in the northern part of Myanmar. We would like to reinforce our support for these projects despite the country’s difficult situation and stand in solidarity with our partners who are in the frontiers of mission as a minority church in a context of war and the rise of authoritarianism,” said Ramambasoa.

Follow the World Mission Facebook page  for registration or viewing information about each of the upcoming videos.

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