What is AWRC?
AWRC stands for Asian Women’s Resource Centre for Culture and Theology. It is an organization of women and women’s organizations in Asia who are engaged in promoting Asian women’s theology. It was conceived in November 1987 at the Asian Women Theologians’ Conference in Singapore by a group of women theologians who felt the need to form a community of Asian women engaged in theology and ministry and to encourage them to articulate Asian women’s contextual theology. AWRC was officially inaugurated in September 1988 in Hong Kong. We publish a theological journal, in God’s image, twice a year. Our newsletter, Womenet, is also published twice a year.
Woman is a seed, growing, flowering and blossoming. The seed symbolizes the source of life and movement. Women come together from different parts of Asia, to be enriched by each other’s culture, to grow together and share responsibility in helping one another, and to do theology in our living contexts.
Asia is a multi-faceted region, rich with many resources: natural wealth, peoples, cultures, religions, and philosophies. Yet, it has a long history of foreign domination and conquest, and is continuously gripped by new neo-colonialism under the guise of industrialization and development. As a result, there is gruesome poverty, injustice, and suffering. In most cases, women suffer the most both in church and society. Many Asian women question the pursuit of economic growth as a model of development because we see this model’s massive effects on environmental degradation, increasing poverty and gender inequality. Instead, we hold the vision of development that centers on the rights and needs of people and expresses the abiding values of social and gender justice. It is a vision of development that is environmentally sustainable based on the experiences of women engaged in the struggle for survival. It is holistic, empowering women for change and transformation.
Our Faith and Vision
We envision a community of women, men, and children who are valued and value each other as equally created in the image of God; and who, together with the rest of God’s creation, relate with one another in mutual respect, care, and responsibility. This new humanity is liberating, inclusive and celebrating. To achieve this vision, we are committed to our struggle for freedom, justice, peace, and equality in the world. We need to struggle for change and liberation within the church and the larger society. On the one hand, we strive to be in solidarity with women in struggle who are most oppressed because of class, race, and gender. On the other hand, we strive to liberate our churches from the sexist and patriarchal ways of its worship and witness, mission and theology, doctrines and structures.
We believe that: Women and men are created equally in the image of God. Jesus affirmed this by his ministry. It is therefore sinful to justify and maintain the discriminatory social and cultural barriers imposed on women over the centuries. It is also evil to endorse the present model of development that is increasing environmental degradation, poverty, and gender inequality. The church as the body of Christ has to be built up by women and men as equal partners in mission, service, and leadership. We discern an urgent need for us to formulate Asian women’s theology. This is a way to use our theological ideas to serve life in response to women’s physical, economic, emotional and spiritual needs. It is also our vision that Asian women’s theology in action can help transform the church and society.
- To facilitate meetings, workshops, forums, etc., of women theologians in Asia, and explore alternative models of theological education;
- To model a cooperative model of working together, as an alternative to hierarchical and authoritarian models, while ensuring that the organization is accountable to its members and funding bodies;
- To provide opportunities to enter into dialogue with women of many faiths and cultures in Asia;
- To collect and circulate materials on women’s issues and theology from Asian women’s perspective;
- To publish in God’s image and books, articles and expressions by Asian women engaged in theology and ministry.
Women and women’s organizations in Asia, who are actively engaged in doing Asian women’s theology are invited to join as full/affiliate members. Associate membership is open to women and women’s organizations outside Asia. Committed to seeking a model of equal and just partnership with men, men and other organizations that are committed to similar visions are welcome as fraternal members. In our effort to support and strengthen women engaged in theology and ministry in Asia, AWRC also works in close cooperation with sister ecumenical organizations like CCA, World Student Christian Federation Asia-Pacific Region, and the Asian Church Women’s Conference, just to name a few. AWRC strives to practice collective and shared leadership within our organization as part of our critique of the dominant patriarchal leadership patterns. We strive to search for and live out alternative patterns both in our theology and praxis. A small group of women, each representing the five sub-regions of Asia, constitutes the Coordinating Team Members (CTM) – an Advisory; the governing committee that meets every 24 months. During the period between CTM meetings, a Working Group consisting of 3 CTM ensures that the AWRC work is carried out. The executive secretary is called the Coordinator.