Highlights

A special Aldersgate Convention 2010

May 2010    

As part of MCS’ 125th Anniversary celebrations it will have added features

THIS YEAR’S ALDERSGATE CONVENTION will be extra special as it will be held as part of the 125th Anniversary celebrations of The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS). The theme for the year-long celebrations is “Together in God’s Mission”.

The added features will come in the form of a Parade of Banners by all the Methodist churches, schools and agencies, a Dialogue with the Bishop and the three Annual Conference Presidents, and a Wesleyan Hymn Festival to be led by an acclaimed American hymn festival director.

On May 22, there will be the Combined Aldersgate and 125th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service at Paya Lebar Methodist Church. The two-hour service will begin at 5 pm with a processional to be led by a colourful parade of banners by 44 Methodist churches, 15 schools and five agencies.

Bishop Dr Robert Solomon will deliver the sermon. Guests should be seated by 4.50 pm.

The procession will consist of two parties. The first party will be led by the bearers of the MCS Banner, then the CAC Banner, ETAC Banner, TRAC Banner, GC-WSCS Banner, the schools, agencies and churches.

The second wave of the processional will see the bearers of the Cross and the Bible leading in the pastors, beginning with the MOTs (Members-on-Trial), with the three Annual Conference Presidents and the Bishop forming the rear of the procession.

In past conventions, only the Cross, the Bible, the MCS Banner and the Banners of the three Annual Conferences as well as that of the General Conference Women’s Society of Christian Service were used.

The Thanksgiving Service will also see the launch of a booklet, Methodist Milestones, to commemorate the 125th Anniversary of the MCS. In three editions – English, Chinese and Tamil – it will be given to all Methodists later this month.

The 32-page booklet, in full colour, chronicles the major milestones of the MCS from its inception in February 1885 to the present. It is written by Mr Earnest Lau, the MCS Archivist. Also at the service, Ms Gwendolyn Tan, a member of Barker

Road Methodist Church, will receive the top prize of $500 for her winning design of the 125th Anniversary logo. Ms Shirley Koh of Bedok Methodist Church and Mr Abel Amir of Jurong Tamil Methodist Church will also be awarded the commendation prizes of $200 each.

Dialogue with Bishop and Conference Presidents

BISHOP DR ROBERT SOLOMON and the three Annual Conference Presidents – the Rev Dr Chong Chin Chung (Chinese Annual Conference), the Rev James Nagulan (Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference), and the Rev Dr Wee Boon Hup (Trinity Annual Conference) – will engage church members in a Dialogue at the chapel of Paya Lebar Methodist Church on May 21 from 7.30 pm to 9.45 pm.

Each of the four panel speakers will speak for 10 minutes. Their topics will be based on the 125th Anniversary theme, “Together in God’s Mission”. The Rev Dr Chong will deal with being “Together”, the Rev Nagulan will focus on the word “God’s”, and the Rev Dr Wee will touch on “Mission”. Bishop Dr Solomon will round off the presentations. The Rev Dr Chong will speak in Mandarin and there will be an English translation in PowerPoint presentation.

There will be a question-and-answer session after each talk. The Dialogue is a departure from the past practice of inviting Wesleyan scholars and preachers to speak at the Aldersgate Convention. It is an opportunity for the Methodist family to interact with their own leaders and to hear from them the vision and directions of the church.

Said Bishop Dr Solomon: “It is not often that church members get a chance to discuss issues with the Bishop and the Conference Presidents, so here is an opportunity. We want to engage with fellow Methodists. We want them think of our rich heritage, and we want them to also think of the future.

“It will be an informal session. We don’t know how many people are coming, and we don’t know what questions to expect. We hope many will turn up and we look forward to a good session of interaction.”

A PROGRAMME OF STIRRING MUSIC to warm the hearts of Methodists has been promised by the Methodist School of Music (MSM), responsible for organising the Wesleyan Hymn Festival to be held at Victoria Concert Hall on May 19 at 8 pm. e festival is a part of the Aldersgate Convention 2010.

Dr Michael Burkhardt, an American music professor internationally known for his inspiring and innovative hymn festivals, will lead the event.

Naturally, the festival will include several of Wesley’s famous hymns arranged and conducted by Dr Burkhardt, who will also play a number of organ solos.

A 157-voice choir amassed from Methodist churches and the award-winning choir from Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School (Primary) will lead in the singing. They will be accompanied on the pipe organ and supported by the ACJC Brass Ensemble, the MGS Handbells and MSM faculty members.

Dr Burkhard will conduct the choir in a specially-commissioned 125th Anniversary hymn entitled “Together in God’s Mission”. The hymn is written by Bishop Dr Robert Solomon and put to music by Dr Burkhardt.

It will also be sung at the Combined Aldersgate and 125th Anniversary anksgiving Service on May 22.

Dr Burkhardt’s visit to Singapore is made possible by the MSM Visiting Professor Fund in memory of the late Mr Wong Ha Hee.

This Wesleyan Hymn Festival is likely to be among the last few public concerts at Victoria Concert Hall as the auditorium is slated for an extensive makeover, lasting three years.

As seating capacity in Victoria Concert Hall is limited to about 880 people and the MSM is expecting a full house, it will open its Full Rehearsal to guests on May 18, beginning at 8.45 pm and ending at 10 pm.

Admission to the two concerts is free. Tickets for both the evenings will be issued on a first-come-first-served basis.

The festival has already attracted an enthusiastic response as the bulk of the 880 tickets for the May 19 evening has been taken up. Tickets for the Full Rehearsal on May 18 are still available. To reserve your free tickets, please call MSM at tel: 6767-5258 or email: <msm@msmusic.edu.sg>

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