The TRAC President thanking retiring pastors for their ministry: The Rev Dr Ngoei Foong Nghian, the Rev Dr Daniel Koh, and the Rev Peter Goh.
During his President’s Address, the Rev Dr Wong recognised the work of Christian Ministry Staff appointed to Methodist schools.
Photos by Daniel Lie
Every year as November rolls around and the three Annual Conferences prepare for their meetings, perhaps you might have wondered: What is all the fuss about? What is the purpose of the Annual Conference – and its yearly meetings?
The latter question was answered by the Rev Dr Gordon Wong in his President’s Address at the 40th Session of Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC), which he gave on 17 Nov 2015 at Methodist Church of the Incarnation. He pointed to paragraph 231 of The Book of Discipline of The Methodist Church in Singapore: “The purpose of the Annual Conference is to make disciples for Jesus Christ by equipping its local churches for ministry and by providing a connection for ministry beyond the local church; all to the glory of God.”
The TRAC President highlighted from this statement three missions of the Annual Conference: 1) To make disciples for Jesus Christ; 2) By equipping local churches for ministry; and 3) Providing a connection for ministry beyond the local church.
He listed Biblical descriptions of disciples such as those in John 13:35, Matthew 22:37-39, Micah 6:8 and Acts 2:42-47, noting that it was important to remind the Annual Conference, local churches and individual members of what Jesus’ mission is – to make disciples like these.
On equipping local churches for ministry, he praised the churches for doing well in equipping their members, and opined that TRAC should be organising equipping sessions with the churches rather than for them.
Significantly, the Rev Dr Wong spoke about land lease expiry and renewal, noting that the leases of five TRAC churches would expire within the next 12 years. He allocated time during the Session for small group discussions among delegates, hoping they would come up with creative ideas on how to continue in ministry in Singapore, where land is scarce and expensive. “How do we still be a church without the blessing of fixed property?” he asked.
With the third mission, he pointed out that TRAC’s area of responsibility was not only ministry within local churches but beyond as well, citing John Wesley who said “I look upon all the world as my parish”. The President listed the involvement of TRAC’s pastors, diaconal ministers and lay staff in the Methodist Missions Society, in Trinity Theological College, as Christian Ministry Staff in Methodist schools, and in Truthmin (TRAC Youth Ministries).
He also highlighted a “growing need” in the local churches – that of a “silvering Singapore”. Within the next 15 years, he said, many members may have difficulty travelling to church or ministry gatherings due to age, or may be unable to attend as they are caring for aged parents. Referring to the pilot work of the Silver Surge Transport Ministry Team, the Rev Dr Wong said this was “one example of Christ-like services that the Church can and must consider”.
“Wouldn’t it be great,” he enthused, “if Methodist churches throughout Singapore were known for the love and care we show for the elderly amongst us?”
The Conference had earlier recognised the faithful ministry of three retiring pastors during its Opening Holy Communion Service on 16 Nov: The Rev Dr Ngoei Foong Nghian, the Rev Dr Daniel Koh Kah Soon, and the Rev Peter Goh Cheng Teck. The Rev Dr Ngoei and the Rev Dr Koh have been re-engaged to serve beyond retirement for at least one more year.
– Grace Toh