THE REV STEWARD DAMAT, President of the Sarawak Iban Annual Conference, Malaysia, spoke on Sept 5, the third day of the 10th Session of the General Conference.
Basing his sermon on John 1:43-51, he posed the question: How can we participate in God’s nature?
“We receive God’s nature when we are born again and we become a new creation,” he said. “When we act on His promise, we participate in His nature.”
He warned the conference against self-pity, which arises from self-centredness.
The Rev Damat shared the fi ndings of a Christian psychologist who said that there are three main areas in life that make a person prone to self-pity: mundane tasks, poor education and a commonplace family background.
However, Jesus experienced all three of these without resorting to self-pity, and keeping our focus on Him can help Christians overcome the tendency to self-pity and the world of material values.
The Rev Damat also warned against two enemies of spiritual growth – worry and delight in riches – and encouraged the conference to remember that “life is Christ”.
Later, Bishop Dr Robert Solomon prayed for the Rev Damat and his wife who were returning home the following day, and for the General Conference session of The Methodist Church in Malaysia which began on Sept 17.
GC clears other business items
THE 10TH SESSION of the General Conference (GC) also dealt with two other business items: the election of new members to the Judicial Council (JC), and changes to e Book of Discipline (BOD).
In addition, reports from the various GC councils and agencies were presented and adopted.
The following ministerial members of the JC were elected: the Rev Philip Abraham (from Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference – ETAC) and the Rev Kenneth Huang (from Trinity Annual Conference – TRAC).
They join current members, the Rev Tan-Yeo Lay Suan and the Rev Goh Aik Hiang (both from the Chinese Annual Conference – CAC), who will continue to serve for another term.
The elected lay members of the JC are: Mr Lim Soo Chin and Mr Frederick Chieng (both from the CAC), and Ms Serene Wee (TRAC). They join Mr M. Geevananthan (ETAC) and Mr Kim Seah Teck Kim (TRAC) who will continue to serve another term.
Ministerial alternates to the JC were elected in this order: the Rev Dr Niam Kai Huey, the Rev Lynette Sathiasingam, the Rev R.Prabhu and the Rev Louis Chai. Also elected were lay alternates to the JC, in this order: Ms Aurill Kam, Mr R. Selvathurai, Mr Steven Seow, Mr Guan Yeow Kwang and Ms D. Rani.
Changes to the BOD were made through petitions submitted to the GC, and recommendations to the GC submitted by the Discipline Revision Commission (DRC). GC delegates formed two legislative committees and deliberated on the proposed changes.
The two legislative committees held five meetings from Sept 3 to 5, after which they reported their recommendations to the GC, which voted on whether to accept or reject their decisions on each proposed amendment.
Of particular interest were the changes setting out a new disciplinary procedure applicable to all ministers. The aim is to reduce the number of ministers required to adjudicate at each stage of the disciplinary process.
Amendments which required additional input from the JC, the DRC or the Annual Conferences were referred for discussion during the December sitting of the 10th Session of the GC.
Methodist Message pictures by DANIEL LIE