On 27 Jan 2018, 300 members from the eight churches of Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC) gathered at Pasir Panjang Tamil Methodist Church (PPTMC) for the annual ETAC Thanksgiving Service. It was truly a jubilant evening that celebrated God’s faithfulness to our Annual Conference and our churches.
The start of the service was heralded by a procession bearing a cross, a Bible, the Conference banners, and banners of local churches carried by their Lay Leaders, in order according to the church’s age. They were followed by the clergy in their robes.
The rest of the congregation filled the sanctuary with beautiful colours that accentuated the rich cultures and traditions of the ETAC churches, with each church having their theme colours on full display.
The Emmanuel Praise choir began the service with a classical Tamil introit, followed by each church presenting their song on the theme of Thanksgiving. Each congregation had a story to tell of God’s goodness, through the songs rendered. These songs were weaved into the order of service and liturgy seamlessly, underlining the spirit of unity prevalent in our ETAC churches. The pastors and their spouses then blessed the combined congregation with a song of Benediction.
ETAC President Rev James Nagulan encouraged the churches with God’s Word from Psalm 133, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” (Psalm 133:1) He invited them to take the opportunity to fellowship and engage with one another, and to build strong bonds within the Annual Conference. He also urged them to respond to God’s ‘Call to unity’, ‘Consecration’, and ‘Commission to serve’. It was a great opportunity for the President to share the direction of the Annual Conference with the local churches.
Of course, no Methodist gathering ends without an opportunity for fellowship around the table! The evening was roundly concluded with a joyous time of fellowship over a sumptuous dinner. It was indeed a blessed time, and a great start for 2018!
Raymond Gabriel Jeyaraj –
is Chairman of the Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference Board of Worship and Music.
Photos by Daniel Lie