Together as one body: Methodist Church moves towards greater unity among Annual Conferences
by Christine Leow // September 22, 2020, 6:22 pm
The Methodist Church in Singapore plans to eventually become "organisationally one", with synergy amongst its three Annual Conferences: (L-R) Rev Dr Gordon Wong, TRAC, Rev James Nagulan, ETAC, and Rev Dr Gregory Goh Nai Lat, CAC, with Bishop Rev Dr Chong Chin Chung (2nd from right) at the 2016 General Conference.
The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) has pledged that its different Annual Conferences (ACs) will work together for greater unity as it looks forward to the next quadrennium. The aim is to eventually be “organisationally one”.
This was reported in the latest edition of the Methodist Message.
Through an initiative started in 2017 and headed by the Structural Review Task Force (SRTF), MCS plans to see how it can have greater synergy across its three ACs “so that there can be less duplication, more effectiveness and greater efficiency”.
Three conferences, one Church
When MCS was founded in 1885, it was organised along language lines into three ACs. The ACs – Chinese Annual Conference (CAC), Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC) and Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC) – work independently, each headed by a president.
MCS’ highest decision-making body, the General Conference, is led by the Bishop, currently Reverend Dr Chong Chin Chung, who will be handing over the bishophood to Rev Dr Gordon Wong on December 4 this year.
As Singapore society evolved and English became the common language used, and as each of the ACs started different language services, MCS saw an opportunity for greater collaboration and cohesion amongst its conferences.
Many Methodists here are now “ready to come together as one MCS, reflecting our unity in Christ”, said the report in the Methodist Message.
“It is my prayer that churches collaborate more in their efforts to spread the Gospel.”
Already, there are workgroups for pastors and lay members from the different ACs to cooperate and pool together their diverse resources and talents.
One initiative that has taken off is a movement of Methodist fathers who saw the importance of paternal leadership to the spiritual growth and health of their families.
Fathers from different Methodist churches have organised an online gathering for dads on October 17, 2020.
The many workgroup discussions have sparked optimism because the people are seeing many common concerns such as family and marriage, children, social concerns, outreach, discipleship and nurture.
Said Henry Tan from Wesley Methodist Church who is spearheading the development of shared platforms among the Methodist churches: “Because of COVID-19, businesses have come to realise how powerful collaboration is. It is my prayer that churches collaborate more in their efforts to spread the Gospel.”