From Mission Conference to Provisional Annual Conference

Oct 2018    

It was a significant moment in the history of The Methodist Church in Cambodia (MCC) when it progressed from a Mission Conference to a Provisional Annual Conference (PAC). Being a PAC is an indication that the MCC is ready to stand independently and, in time, run fully on its own as an Annual Conference.

Held from 4 to 7 Sep 2018, the 10th Annual Missions Conference and the first Provisional Annual Conference of MCC was chaired by the Presiding Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung of The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS). The partnering churches were represented by Bishop Larry M. Goodpastor of the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church (GBGM-UMC), Bishop Dr James Kwang of the World Federation of Chinese Methodist Churches (WFCMC) and the Chinese Methodist Church in Australia, and Bishop Lee Chul of the Korean Methodist Church (KMC).

Besides the lay delegates and clergy from MCC, delegates from five agencies—GBGM-UMC, Connexio, Methodist Missions Society (MMS), WFCMC and KMC—well as other guests were among the over 100 witnesses to this historic moment.

During the conference, the mission superintendent, district superintendents, boards and agencies delivered their reports on the previous year. Elections of the various board chairpersons and their committee members were also held.

An exciting milestone was reached when the first President, the Rev Lun Sophy, together with the first Lay Leader, Mr Leng Thy, and Conference Secretary, the Rev Svay Youtheroath, were elected to serve on the first PAC. In his maiden speech, the Rev Sophy emphasised how important it was for all in the body of Christ to work together: “We are in the same boat. It’s not the leader who rows the boat. Some have to bail water out of the boat, and everyone shares the responsibility of rowing the boat… I pray that all of you will continue to pray for MCC and work together to move it forward.”

The four-day session rounded off with a closing service, which saw the ordination and installation of the Rev Sophy, and the ordination of new deacons and elders. The MCC will now embark on its new standing as a PAC. There will be numerous roles and responsibilities to be fulfilled, but with God’s help, we look forward to it becoming a full Annual Conference in time to come. To God be the glory!

The 10th Mission Conference is officially declared closed and the first Provisional Annual Conference Session of MCC is opened.

The Rev Lun Sophy is elected as the first President of the first PAC. The Presiding Bishop Dr Chong, Bishop Goodpastor, Bishop Kwang, Bishop Lee and Mission Superintendent, the Rev Sok Sovandy, pray for him.

Bishop Dr Chong administers Holy Communion on the first day.

More than 100 delegates, including lay delegates, clergy from MCC and observers from the 5 agencies—MMS, GBGM, UMC, Connexio, KMC and WFCMC—attended the conference.

There are several election processes, including the election of the lay leader, conference secretary, various board chairpersons and their committee members.

The MCC clergy, together with the bishops, line up for the procession before the ordination service.

The Rev Lun Sophy is ordained by Bishop Dr Chong, Bishop Goodpastor and Bishop Kwang. Behind him is his wife, Ms Yuwath Lim.

A choir, comprising members from the various agencies, performs a song item.

“We truly believe that the work [i.e. MCC’s progression to a PAC] is not finished. It is just the beginning of the next stage… We still need to remain in unity, to serve in love, and to strive together in the part we are called to do.”
—Bishop Dr Chong, in his greeting message

“The first thing I will do is to equip pastors and churches to focus more on discipleship. Then I would like to help the pastors and churches better understand the Methodist liturgy, to help them make the most of their time of worship and to learn to revere God.”
—The Rev Lun Sophy, on his plans as a newly-elected President

“I was so heartened to see MCC become a PAC, and am eager to see what the Khmer people can achieve in the future. But everything depends on God—while we do our best, our success lies in God’s hands.”
—Mr Leng Thy, elected lay leader

Ashley Ho is the Communications Executive at MCS Comms. She was present at the 10th Mission Conference and first Provisional Annual Conference of The Methodist Church in Cambodia in Phnom Penh.

Photos by Ashley Ho and the Rev Han Sun Jong


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