32ND SESSION OF THE CHINESE ANNUAL CONFERENCE: NOV 12-15, 2007
IN PRESENTING his report for the year 2007, the Rev Khoo Cheng Hoot, President of the Chinese Annual Conference (CAC), gave thanks for a good year in which consistent and sacrificial effort was made by Conference boards and individuals.
Speaking at Kum Yan Methodist Church on Nov 13, he said that notable among these efforts was that CAC members were more willing to give financially, while tithing had shown substantial growth. A good indicator, he said, was the successful completion of the building projects of Kum Yan Methodist Church and Queenstown Chinese Methodist Church.
On the other hand, the unfinished task of the Sengkang Methodist Church building project remains a challenge, with a shortfall of $3 million that needs to be met.
Turning to an important change in CAC financing from August 2008, the Rev Khoo said that the computation of the Commitment Fund to be paid by Local Conferences will be based on the principle of “the more we receive, the more we give”. The amount payable will be 7 per cent of the Local Conference’s adjusted income, instead of a flat rate of $55 per member.
Another change envisaged is in the mode of payment of pastors’ salaries, which will be centralised in the CAC office, details of which are being worked out by a study committee.
Turning his attention to Outreach, the Rev Khoo noted with satisfaction that the labour in cultivating and planting has resulted in 500 baptisms, an increase of 87, or 4.47 per cent compared to last year.
In the area of Partnership, the CAC and Chinese churches from other denominations have made good progress in covenantal relationship as seen in a jointly organised Chinese gospel rally, Celebrate Christmas in Singapore (CCIS), and a Chinese New Year Concert. The CAC also offered training in Caring Evangelism to other Chinese churches in Singapore, and enjoyed fellowship with overseas Methodist churches by participating in the first Emmaus Walk in Taiwan organised by its Methodist Church, and helping in the translation of books in Myanmar.
At the same time, CAC boards cooperated in training and reaching out to serve four Methodist schools in Singapore, while a new training course for church school teachers was well received, 57 having registered for the 16 modules that will take two years to complete. Other training courses include Disciple, Covenant Discipleship, and Growing A Healthy Church for both Chinese and English-speaking Methodist churches in Singapore and overseas.
On a practical note, about 150 CAC adults volunteered their services to raise funds for the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) Flag Day, and Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church has pledged $100,000 to sponsor the Methodist Schools’ Foundation (MSF) Walkathon 2009.
The Rev Khoo reported that the CAC has two new missionaries, Miss Gloria Khoo (Charis Methodist Church) and Miss Lai Choy Fong (Sengkang Methodist Church), who are being sent through the Methodist Missions Society.
The Rev Wilfred Ho Wai Tat has completed his doctoral thesis under the joint faculty development plan with Trinity Theological College (TTC), and has started teaching there.
One of the elder pastors, the Rev Tan Lye Keng, was retiring from the CAC to serve full-time in the One Hope Centre as its Executive Director. The centre, at which he was a volunteer for the past two years, counsels gambling addicts and helps affected family members.
The Rev Khoo closed his address by challenging the CAC to make progress, and expressed the confidence that God would provide all its needs, a hope that is best reflected in the words of Psalm 81:10b – “Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it.”
Earnest Lau is the Associate Editor of Methodist Message.