In thanking God for His sustaining grace in another year as the Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC) President, the Rev R. Prabhu stated ETAC’s focus on missions in the coming year, based on its theme of “Strengthen your stakes” (Isaiah 54.2). This builds upon the emphasis on community outreach and social concerns in 2015, based on the theme “Lengthen your cords” (Isaiah 54:2).
During his President’s Review at the 40th Session of ETAC at Tamil Methodist Church on 6 Nov 2015, the Rev R. Prabhu gave a summary of the Conference’s events in 2015. This included a blood donation drive; health talk on eye matters; the launch of Under God’s Almighty Hand, a book capturing ETAC history at the Thanksgiving Service to honour church pioneers; ETAC Women’s Society of Christian Service retreat and mission trip; and Telugu Methodist Church’s joint effort with Methodist Welfare Services to reach out to the migrant community at Mandai through pastoral care, prayer support and counselling.
In line with next year’s focus on missions, the Rev Prabhu said that ETAC has moved beyond addressing immediate needs to long-term needs, such as bearing the educational overheads for 615 Myanmar children in the Gift of Hope programme, and supporting Mosik Gospel Centre in Myanmar. The Rev Prabhu shared his hopes for ETAC’s expansion of mission involvement, to pray and work towards sending missionaries fully supported by the Conference or local churches.
“This year, we are supporting nine evangelists working among the Koya Tribe in the Telungana area in India,” he added.
Locally, ongoing progress in outreach opportunities is evident in the ministry at Teck Whye, and of Bedok Preaching Point. The fellowship group at Punggol has also begun looking for a place of worship.
Turning to pastor supply, the Rev Prabhu reported the deployment of the Rev James Nagulan as Pastor-in-Charge of Seletar Tamil Methodist Church and Sembawang Tamil Methodist Church after completing his studies. He also thanked Rev Jeyapaul Sitther for his faithful service, as he returns to India at the end of this year. He reiterated the vital role of laity in ETAC’s leadership and commended the Conference Lay Leader for greater rapport between the clergy and laity.
He also shared about challenges and concerns for the Conference, such as the need for an organised group to minister to those leaving ETAC’s Methodist Youth Fellowship after they turn 25. It was encouraging to see emerging youth leadership in their respective church ministries, and the awareness of evangelism developing among youths, said the Rev Prahbu.
A minute of silence was observed for the late Mr S. Gunaseelan, who served the General Conference of The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS), ETAC and his home church Tamil Methodist Church for almost 30 years. He was an advocate for an autonomous Methodist Church prior to the formation of the MCS, and was also instrumental in the rebuilding of Tamil Methodist Church from 1987 to 1989.
The Rev Prabhu then closed his review by urging conference members to continue working towards addressing issues such as spiritual and numerical growth to keep the Conference alive and vital for the next generation, and “greater involvement in the life of the community outside our churches and in missions”.
During the ordination and closing service, the Rev Isaac Raju Vedamuthu was ordained as Elder.
In line with next year’s focus on missions, the Rev Prabhu said that ETAC has moved beyond addressing immediate needs to long-term needs, such as bearing the educational overheads for 615 Myanmar children in the Gift of Hope programme, and supporting Mosik Gospel Centre in Myanmar.