Call to respond to issues within Christian discipleship framework

Jul 2008    

Fellowship of Indian Denominational Churches 2nd General Assembly

THE second General Assembly of the Fellowship of Indian Denominational Churches (FIDC) was held in Malacca from May 9 to 12, 2008. The theme was “One Heart, One Voice.”

The FIDC aims to find ways to work together in Christian unity in ministry and mission, to share and leverage on human and other resources, to study and publish common issues and concerns of the Indian churches and to have a particular vision and responsibility to reach out to the Indian Diaspora.

With this in mind, various papers were presented at the assembly for deliberation; the topics ranged from exploring frameworks for missions to the South Asian Diaspora, to confessing Christ in a pluralistic society especially in the context of the Indian Christian being a minority within a minority, to cross-currents in family life, to challenges in pastoral mission. The sessions were highly interactive and apart from the formal responses to the papers presented, there were small group discussions and question-and-answer sessions.

The keynote speaker at the assembly was the Rev Dr Sam Kamaleson, a Methodist pastor, evangelist and international speaker whose thought-provoking talks challenged the clergy as well as the lay leadership to respond to contextual issues within the framework of Christian discipleship.

The Executive Committee under the leadership of the FIDC Chairman, Bishop Dr Robert Solomon, and Vice-Chairman Bishop Julius Paul (Lutheran Church, Malaysia) drew up plans for the next quadrennium. Inputs were also obtained from “shadow FIDC Executive Committees” that were set up from among the participants.

Apart from planning ministry programmes and events around issues that were deliberated for action at the assembly itself, it was also decided that a “think tank” be set up at the FIDC level to analytically work through critical issues and challenges that the Indian Diaspora faces.

The assembly also resolved to leverage the FIDC website to enhance communication, facilitate ongoing discussions and stay connected with one another.

The FIDC members presented to the assembly both books which they had recently published as well as books which were ready for publication – these books addressed issues of common concern to the FIDC. There was also a presentation by the Bible Society with a specific focus on reaching the Indian community.

The spacing of the events and programmes gave the 87 participants ample time to grapple with issues as well as fellowship and network with one another.

The third assembly of the FIDC will be held in Singapore in January 2013.

Training session for facilitators

THE DISCIPLE Agency is planning to conduct a second “Companions in Christ” (CIC) Facilitators’ training session at Sophia Blackmore Hall, Level 6, Methodist Centre on Aug 30 from 9 am to 5 pm.

Companions in Christ offers small groups with a powerful transforming experience – for participants to open themselves to God’s presence and guidance, to explore classic spiritual practices, and to develop new daily patterns that will open their lives to a deepening relationship with God and with the group.

The trainer will be the Rev Stanley Chua, an Executive Committee member of the DISCIPLE Agency, who has led a Companions in Christ group in Ang Mo Kio Methodist Church where he is the Pastor in-Charge.

The one-volume introduction to Companions in Christ brings one through an uninterrupted 28-week study of five topics: Spiritual formation, scripture, prayer, vocation and spiritual companionship.

Each week of study begins with an inviting and often challenging reading by a recognised author in spiritual formation. In addition to the weekly reading, the book provides questions and daily scripture readings to guide a person’s private reflection. The week closes with a two-hour group session where participants share their thoughts, reflect together, and take part in group learning experiences.

The Rev Marjorie Thompson, one of the authors of Companions in Christ, was here on March 10 last year to conduct the first CIC training session in Singapore. A total of 85 participants attended the session, and since then a few churches have started using the material.

The Rev Chua said that he facilitated his first group of Companions in Christ on Nov 11, 2006, and has been enriched by the entire experience, especially in drawing closer to God and to his fellow companions-in-Christ.

He said that although he had been a pastor since August 1997, he had never really experienced the full range of practising the various spiritual disciplines in his life.

He has read that most Christians only have one or two spiritual disciplines that they practise regularly for most of their faith journey. Many are ignorant that there are other spiritual disciplines and many still fail to practise spiritual disciplines as part of their spiritual growth.

The course has helped him to discover many spiritual disciplines that the early spiritual fathers had practised.

To register for the training session or to find out more about it, please contact Siew Geok @ tel: 6478- 4755 or email: siewgeok.chng@methodist.


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