ME 39th Asian Conference hosted in Singapore 2016-10-23T15:24:04+00:00
 Called to Shepherd final version_small
Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME) teams from around Asia discussed the direction their movement would take and shared their joys and challenges at a conference in Singapore recently. The pro-marriage movement is actively present in 12 Asian countries and territories – Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea , Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and United Arab Emirates (Dubai). Delegates, from 11 of these countries (Taiwan could not make it this year) met with the Asian Ecclesial Team from Sept 6-12 at the Marriage Encounter House in Punggol for the 39th WWWME Asia Conference.
During the meeting which had the theme ‘Called to Shepherd’, participants discussed ways to bring WWME to countries and places that do not conduct the movement’s Weekend programme. For example, WWME Malaysia is working with Indonesia to bring the programme to East Malaysia.  Countries were thus encouraged to support each other by sending weekend presenters to places where there is a shortage of teams, such as Singapore continuing to assist in China and India supporting the Tamil-speaking in Malaysia. Participants noted that WWME China has been able to progress well due to help given by other Asian countries, especially Singapore. In 2000, the first WWME weekend in China kicked off in Shanghai with help from Korea and Singapore. In 2005, weekends were held in Ningbo and Liaoning. With continuing help from Singapore, the movement has spread to 14 prefectures. There are many more prefectures in China waiting for Weekends. China is presently facing challenges in training couple presenters to reach out to these prefectures.  During the conference, the China team requested assistance from countries with Mandarin-speaking people, such as Malaysia and Singapore, to help them train couple presenters.
Participants also explored solutions to meet the extreme challenges faced by some countries, such as Bangladesh and Japan, in having stay-in Weekends due to cost and attendance issues.  There is moreover a shortage of presenting priests in most of the Asian countries, except for Korea, participants learned.
Korea shared their joy over Pope Francis’ visit to their country in August. In 2013, Korea conducted 132 Weekends for 2,298 couples. Their target this year is to have 140 Weekends for 2,500 couples.  Korea also has 515 presenting team couples and 238 priests who are available to present the Weekends they envisage.
The countries of WWME Asia take turns to host the annual Asian Conference. The last time Singapore played host was in 2004, ten years ago. The Ecclesial Teams of Asia and its countries will meet next year in Indonesia where the Asian Conference is likely to be held in Bali.
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 The hosting of the week long Asian Conference is an unforgettable experience of sharing of love and resources in the finest spirit of WWME, rousing, joyous and rewarding, not just for the conference participants, but for couples and priests devoting their time, talents and energy to serving as gracious hosts in so many different ways.
 Photos of the week long event can be found below