In front row: The Rev Som Sarun from Chress MC (2nd from right), and the Rev Ouk Ratana (4th from right). Back row: From left, Mission Superintendent Rev Sok Sovandy, Bishop Jun Yang Chul, Bishop Dr Wee Boon Hup, Bishop Larry Goodpastor, and the Rev Prak Vuthy, the BOM Chairperson.
The Rev Sok Sovandy has been re-elected the Cambodian Mission Superintendent at the 7th Mission Conference Session of the Methodist Church in Cambodia (MCC) held on 2 Sept 2015. In a move toward becoming a selfgoverning Methodist Church, the Rev Sovandy was first elected to this role, traditionally held by missionaries, in the conference year 2013/2014. The Rev Sovandy secured church licenses from the government for many Methodist churches, and stood firm on the principles guiding MCC.
Bishop Dr Wee Boon Hup – the Presiding Bishop of MCC – chaired the conference with Bishop Larry Goodpastor from the General Board of Global Ministries of the USA’s United Methodist Church (UMC/GBGM), and Bishop Jun Yang Chul from the Korean Methodist Church (KMC). The conference was attended by 126 delegates made up of clergy, mission agencies, and lay leaders.
At the Opening Service, Bishop Dr Wee drew on Matthew 16:19 and exhorted the conference to be responsible and know what we are called to open our doors to, and what we are to guard against.
A conference highlight was the ordination of six deacons and nine elders – an occasion of great joy, worship and celebration. Among them were the Rev Ouk Ratana from Prek Ompel Methodist Church, partnering with Aldersgate Methodist Church; the Rev Som Sarun from Phum Chress Methodist Church, partnering with Covenant Community Methodist Church; and the Rev Tun Pheaktra from Prek Tual Phnom Penh Methodist Church, partnering with Barker Road Methodist Church.
With the rest of the representatives from different mission agencies, the Rev Teresa Wilborn (Coordinating Officer) brought greetings to the conference on behalf of Methodist Missions Society (MMS), Singapore.
Annually, a few days before the conference, the five participating Methodist mission agencies are invited to come together with the local cabinet and executive board to continue in collaboration to expand the kingdom of God in Cambodia. With the growth in leadership of MCC, the foreign and local relationship is taking on an encouraging gradual change from dependency to partnership.
The five mission agencies present were the World Federation of Chinese Methodist Churches (WFCMC), Switzerland and France – Netzwerk für Mission und Diakonie (Connexio), KMC, GBGM, and MMS. The Rev Dianna Khoo (Area Director) chaired the Coordinating Board Meeting on 31 Aug, which discussed the support needed for MCC leadership to strengthen their churches.
Cambodian pastors forming the MCC Cabinet had also stepped up in faith and rose to the occasion by leading important planning meetings and the mission conference itself.
In the reports presented by the Country Directors of the five agencies, MCC reported having 148 churches made up of 28 local churches, 61 preaching points and 59 outreach points. MMS reported on their ongoing development and involvement in our local church ministries and nurturing disciples, more of whom are taking up key roles in the ministries.
With the diligent work of the Rev Lun Sophy and his committee, and support from Mr John Ling representing WFCMC, two crucial sections of The Book of Discipline – on the Local Church and The Ministry – were translated into Khmer, and presented and accepted at the conference.
Mr Thav Veasna, the manager of COSI Children’s Village, who was invited as a delegate for the first time, found it encouraging to see so many Methodist churches, and more Cambodians coming to know the Lord Jesus. He hoped that more pastors would answer God’s call to shepherd the sheep in future.
Photo courtesy of Methodist Missions Society
Jacob Cheng is an MMS Missionary in Cambodia, and the MMS Country Director for Cambodia.