The Salvation Army is in 22 of the 32 provinces of Indonesia, with membership of 70,000. We are a part of a loose organization of churches where we talk about social problems, relationships and our role in society for social progress, as we are meant to be ‘salt and light of the world’.
I am excited about GCF. This is where we can work together as one and to build stronger relationships towards unity and respect of each other in each church’s tradition. Here I come to know the Mennonites, Lutherans, learned about the situation of Christians in China, and that there are Christians in the Middle East too. Indonesians think all people in the Middle East are only Muslims.
I am impelled to share with other church leaders about GCF, and that we must strengthen our ecumenical relations and collaboration. We are one in God, one in baptism and in the Spirit. Traditions must not be barriers.
My church so far has not experienced being attacked since we have good relations with the Muslims. The Muslims respect us as we have worked together in responding to the tsunami that devastated Indonesia years ago. We also have a humanitarian mission to Iraq.
Our motto is ‘Heart to God, hands to man.’ At the end of the Eid al-Fitr in August, the Salvation Army was welcomed by the Muslims in offering food and water to the Muslims. I think it is because we are more open, and we do not mean to convert, we must go out to the world to serve.
We have a vibrant inter-faith cooperation with the Muslims. In fact, some of the young people who helped ensure peace during the GCF opening worship at the local church came from the Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). At the church that was bombed in late September in Solo, central Java, every Sunday a group of young Muslims volunteered to ensure peace in the area.