30TH SESSION OF EMMANUEL TAMIL ANNUAL CONFERENCE: NOVEMBER 11-12, 2005
BEING small is all right. It even has its advantages. So do not be discouraged.
This was the focus of Bishop Dr Robert Solomon’s message to delegates of Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC) at their 30th Session at Tamil Methodist Church in Short Street on Nov 11, 2005.
ETAC is small, he said, smaller than some of our local Methodist churches. Can it really survive, or achieve anything significant?
Yes, it can.
Why? Because God does not despise small things.
“In fact, He has done great things with small things,” he said. “Remember the small stone David used to fell Goliath? Remember the five small barley loaves and two fish?”
Giving another example of the greatness of smallness, he told the story of how God chose the grossly outnumbered 300 of Gideon’s men to fight against the Midianites and gave them victory.
And continuing in the same vein later, ETAC President Rev James Nagulan, in his Presidential Review, said “we must realise the importance of us being part of this big ship” of The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS).
The MCS has about 33,000 members, and ETAC has less than 1,000 members. This disparity, he said, could make ETAC members “feel small or even lost”. However, this should not discourage ETAC members from being involved at the General Conference level.
“However big a machine may be, small parts do play significant roles. As you can see, ETAC members have served and are continuing to serve in key roles in the General Conference of The Methodist Church in Singapore.”
This past year, ETAC had been able to mobilise more people to participate in General Conference events.
“This is evident in our involvement in the Methodist Missions Society (MMS). Many of our members were present at MMS prayer sessions and other events.
“Ang Mo Kio Tamil Methodist Church’s move to sign the Memorandum of Understanding with the MMS is an example to be followed by those churches which have yet to become partners with the MMS.”
Bishop Dr Solomon’s message at the Opening Service of the two-day conference on Nov 11, 2005 was entitled “Gideon’s 300: When Less Is More”, based on Judges 7.
Relating the battle between the 135,000 Midianite soldiers and Gideon’s 300 men, whittled down from an original 32,000, he showed how God turned around Gideon’s “hopeless situation” and gave him victory, and added: “God is not interested in merely giving us victory but more concerned with teaching us trust”.
What lessons can we learn from this Scripture text?
The Bishop said: “God has a great use for small things. Don’t underestimate the small. The small have what the big may not have. They are nimble, ready to respond.
“What about ETAC? What plans has God got for the conference? What battles are you to engage in? How is God desiring to use ETAC?
“You must act in unison and strengthen your connectionalism. ETAC has come a long way, and it is now 30 years. God has brought you here today.