The Launching Ceremony of the Book  

Seeking Abundance of Life

 

 

 

   

SEEKING ABUNDANT LIFE FOR ALL

by Bartholomew Protyush Shaha

 

"Seeking Abundant Life For All" is a collection of twenty-five articles, speeches and reflections of the author on various vital issues of our times and the search towards a contextual response to the mission of the YMCA. It is published by the Chittagong YMCA, Bangladesh, in celebrating its 25th Anniversary. The layout, printing and production has been done at the Chittagong YMCA Press.

 

Bart Shaha who is currently the General Secretary of the Asia Alliance of YMCAs, began his YMCA vocation as the first General Secretary of the Chittagong YMCA in 1973. He has since also served as the National General Secretary of the Bangladesh YMCA, as Executive for Leadership Development in the Asia Alliance of YMCAs and as Executive Secretary for Global Programmes and Communications at the World Alliance of YMCAs.

 

The Book was released by the Chittagong YMCA at a public ceremony held in Chittagong on 12 January 2001, officiated by the President of Chittagong YMCA, Mr. Alfred Biswas and with a prominent Bangladeshi writer, Mrs. Fahmida Amin as the Chief Guest. The Bishop of Chittagong, Rt. Rev. Patrick D Rozario, csc, Dr. Masood Mahmud, Head, Department of English, Chittagong University, and many other YMCA leaders, members, journalists, writers and musicians were present. In Hong Kong, the book was released by Dr. Cecil Chan, Vice President of the Asia Alliance of YMCAs and Hony. Treasurer of World Alliance of YMCAs, at the inauguration of the 18th Asia YMCA Advanced Studies on 1 November 2000.


 

 Following are some of the comments on the book made by readers :                                

 

 

Mr. Kan Tanikawa, President, Asia Alliance of YMCAs

 

"The depth of Bart Shaha's thinking on the vision and mission of the YMCA, the search for spirituality and the fulfillment of the Reign of God amongst all peoples, especially the marginalised, the dispossessed, the downtrodden, the discriminated - the poorest of the poor, is indeed a beacon to YMCAs today, as they seek to express the love of God and the abundant life that Jesus brings to all. I commend the book to all YMCA members and friends in Bangladesh and throughout the YMCA international family, for an insight into the challenges and opportunities open to all of us, to be co-creators with God, in the building of communities filled with justice, love and peace."

 

(From Message given for the Book Release Ceremony held on 12 January 2001,

Chittagong, Bangladesh)


 

Dr. Cecil Chan, Vice President, Asia Alliance of YMCAs, Hony. Treasurer, World Alliance of YMCAs

 

"Jesus said, 'I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.' The Mission of the YMCA Movement is a continuation of that task of Jesus, that is to bring to the people of the world an abundant life, a life that is full of peace, love, joy and hope. Bart, in his many years of service in the YMCA movement has experienced how the YMCA has helped in working for the mission of our Lord Jesus. In this book Bart has written elegantly on the vision and the mission of the YMCA intertwined with many beautiful songs and poems that he has written and composed over the years. I am sure all of you will treasure it and enjoy reading it.

 

(From Message given at the Inauguration of the Asia YMCA Advanced Studies,

1 November 2000, Hong Kong)


 

Dr. Feliciano V. Carino, General Secretary, Christian Conference of Asia

 

"The point that makes this book very familiar to me is its theme. The text around which the book revolves is the text from the Gospel of St. John 10:10, "I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly" there is some kind of conjoining of interests here on the selection of the theme that finds itself at the centre of Ecumenical thinking at this moment in our time. And, therefore, it is very significant that as Bart Shaha reflects about his involvement in the various levels of the YMCA, he reflects on the same themes with which the other major Ecumenical bodies in Asia and the world are also reflecting upon; which underscores the increasing Ecumenical relationship that have been built, the common grounds that the Ecumenical bodies are to think about, particularly in this part of the world. And for those of you who are acquainted with the Asian situation, you would realise how important this theme is in terms of the life of people in this region.

 

The second point which attracts me is its theological reflection. For those who come from other wings of the Ecumenical Movement, other than the YMCA, this is a surprise. Because, the YMCA generally has not been noted for its theology in the last several years. Other parts of the Ecumenical movement associates the YMCA, to use the old words, with 'gym' and 'swim' but not with theology. Therefore, it is quite eye-catching and certainly that which attracts a great amount of interest in that several chapters of the book deal with very major, very significant theological themes, for example, the meaning of Spirituality, the Mission of the Church in the present century, the meaning of the Kingdom of God as the point of entry towards understanding our time, the problems and dynamics of culture and contextuality. Again, these are theological themes that are very dominant in the life of the Ecumenical movement at this time.

 

And now, my third point. It comes from the experience of a person who works from the YMCA, and therefore from a lay perspective. We, theologians, often try to make things which are simple, very complex. This book is simply written. It is theological but not complex. And in that sense it is interesting and useful reading. The wealth of material in this book is tremendous as it carries resources about lay movements and the role that lay organisations play in the life of the church and specifically of the YMCA, its structure and its purpose, its history, its mission statements; the various changes that are going on at the national, regional and local levels, its call for advocacy as a major element in the life of a lay organisation like the YMCA; and the theme relating to the issue of poverty and development."

 

(From Message given at the Inauguration of the Asia YMCA Advanced Studies,

1 November 2000, Hong Kong)


 

Dr. Lawrence Yick, General Secretary, Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong

 

"In this book, Bart Shaha reminds us of three things. Firstly, it is mission as described in the Bible. Secondly, it is about co-operation. We should cooperate with each other, other social movements and with people of other faiths. And the third thing he reminds us about, is contextualization, that is, we should always think of how to interpret the teachings of Jesus Christ within our own contexts. That is very important. As a YMCA Secretary we should bring hope, bring abundant life to all people that we serve. Without that, we cannot claim ourselves to be YMCA Secretaries, and this book makes this important point very clear."


 

Mr. Anjan Mukherjee, Co-General Secretary, Calcutta YMCA, India

 

"The book, in my opinion, is an oeuvre of universality, full of profound truths and delves deep into the mystique of the movement. Its lucid cut-glass clarity, wide spectrum of thoughts, prescience and honest exhortation make it a laudable work of prose if not a YMCA Professional's Handbook. The theological perspective and practical outlook on the themes and subjects with dialecticism sans didacticism make for interesting reading."


 

Mrs. Fahmida Amin

 

"I propose that steps be taken to translate the book into Bengali for the benefit of the general public."

 

(Quoted from Daily Newspapers: Dainik Azadi, 15 July 2001, Prothom Alo, 22 January 2001, Dainik Karnaphuli, 15 January 2001)


 

Bishop Patrick D'Rozario csc., Bishop of Chittagong

 

"In his book the writer has laid a great importance to spirituality and spiritual growth. The poems and songs are very inspiring."

 

(Quoted from Daily Newspapers: Dainik Azadi, 15 July 2001, Prothom Alo, 22 January 2001, Dainik Karnaphuli, 15 January 2001)


 

Dr. Masood Mahmud, Head, Department of English, Chittagong University

 

"The writings describe vividly the condition of people. In the book the writer has strongly invited all to focus on and strengthen the Community Organising Programme amongst everyone irrespective of race, religion or colour."

 

(Quoted from Daily Newspapers: Dainik Azadi, 15 July 2001, Prothom Alo, 22 January 2001, Dainik Karnaphuli, 15 January 2001)


 

'SEEKING ABUNDANT LIFE FOR ALL' is available in bound hard-cover at USD10    (Postage not included) from 

 

Chittagong YMCA 950/E, CDA Avenue

East Nasirabad

Chittagong 4000

Bangladesh

e-mail : ctgymca@abnetbd.com

Tel : 880-31-652 083

Fax : 880-31-610 029

 

Asia Alliance of YMCAs 23 Waterloo Road

Kowloon

Hong Kong

e-mail : asiay@hk.super.net

Tel : 852 - 27808347

Fax : 852 - 23854692


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