The Structural Review Taskforce (SRTF) wants to convey to our members these two key messages: that we are better together and that The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) needs to be a movement again.
Leafing through past issues of Methodist Message reveals our leaders’ sentiment that we are “better together”.
In Oct 2016, Titus Paul from Ang Mo Kio Tamil Methodist Church wrote: “As we come to have a better understanding of each other’s history and ministry, we may discover opportunities to forge cross church partnerships and collaborations.”1 In his final review as ETAC President, the Rev Prabhu also called for collaboration to respond to the many challenges faced by the Conference.2 ETAC is now collaborating with Changi Methodist Church (CAC) in outreach to Punggol residents.
TRAC President the Rev Dr Gordon Wong said that the success of Conference Boards rides on their ability to “develop an ethos that encourages and enables local church committees to ‘piggy back’ on each other’s ministries and programmes.”3
Indeed, there are issues which are certainly better done together. One such example is the call by then-Bishop Dr Wee Boon Hup in his Episcopal Address at the opening of the 11th Session of the General Conference (GC) for the GC to establish a taskforce with representatives from the Social Concerns units of the Annual and Local conferences to review the social principles in The Book of Discipline to guide the GC on issues such as “the web of LGBTQI” issues.4
A Movement Again
Being a movement again involves not letting the structure become a bottleneck. Local churches and boards—even individuals who see areas for ministry and outreach—can come together for some ground-up initiatives. “Moving forward, it is time to strengthen our growth as one community, looking for more commonalities in resource-sharing, programmes and mutual support,” said Bishop Chong.5
The SRTF has appointed several workgroups that are continuing their work. Their discussions have identified areas for further study. For instance, the Admin-related workgroup has identified Governance, Archives & History.
Workgroup 5 on Music and Worship has conducted surveys and discussions on the strengths and needs in our churches. It is exploring a Council on Worship and Music, or perhaps a network-based approach to provide leadership and guidance for planning, training and equipping.
Workgroup 4 on Age-related matters will see CAC’s Board of Family Life and TRAC’s Board of Children Ministry collaborating on a project next year.
While there is still much ground to cover before we can be a One Conference MCS, we can begin thinking, feeling and working as One MCS, a Church united: Together as One in spirit and purpose. The Council of Communications will look into platforms by which local churches and individuals may seek out others for collaboration, sharing of resources, recruitment of volunteers and others with the same passions. Please write to email@example.com if you would like to be part of this.
1 “ETAC: Seeking Fellowship in Punggol,” Methodist Message, October 2016, 10.
2 “Collaborating to Face Challenges,” Methodist Message, January 2017, 8.
3 “Networking and Investing in Each Other’s Ministries,” Methodist Message, January 2017, 10.
4 “GC2016: Raising Awareness, Taking Steps to Keep Pace with Social Changes,” Methodist Message, January 2017, 12.
5 “Let’s Grow in Ministry, ‘Together as One’,” Methodist Message, January 2017, 24.
By the Structural Review Task Force
Picture by Solarseven/Bigstock.com