8TH GENERAL CONFERENCE OF THE METHODIST CHURCH IN MALAYSIA: SEPT 20-25, 2004 KUALA LUMPUR
THE REV Dr Hwa Yung, who has been elected Bishop of The Methodist Church in Malaysia, grew up in Penang and studied at Pykett Methodist School and Methodist Boys’ School.
From 1967-71, he studied at the University of Tasmania on a Colombo Plan scholarship. This was followed by five years of teaching at the Sultan Abdul Hamid College in Alor Star. He then went on to complete the Bachelor of Divinity and Master of Theology from London. Later, he completed his doctoral studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in the United States.
He began his ministry with The Methodist Church in Malaysia in 1981, first as a pastor and later as a theological college lecturer. Before taking up his current position as Director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in Asia at Trinity Theological College, Singapore, he was the Principal of Seminari Theoloji Malaysia in Seremban for 15 years.
He is also involved in other ministries of the church. Among other positions, he is the Chairman of the Board of the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies and a member of the Executive Committee of the International Association for Mission Studies.
His wife, Lee Bee Teik, is also from Penang, and she studied at Methodist Girls’ School. She graduated in medicine from Monash University, Australia, in 1977, but now works full-time as a Christian counsellor and writer. They have three children.
Sabah Mission Conference now a Provisional Annual Conference
THE 8th Session of the General Conference of The Methodist Church in Malaysia, held in Kuala Lumpur from Sept 20 to 25, 2004, has accepted a petition to turn the Sabah Mission Conference into the Sabah Provisional Annual Conference.
The petition, tabled by the Rev Ting Daik Choung, President of the Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference (SCAC), on Sept 24, was adopted without any debate or opposition. The acceptance was, in fact, received with loud applause from the delegates.
The Sabah Mission Conference was established by the 4th Session of the General Conference, which was held in Kuala Lumpur from Dec 6 to 8, 1988. After 16 years of hard work, both the Sabah Mission Conference and the SCAC felt that the time was now right for the Mission Conference to become a Provisional Annual Conference.
The Sabah Mission Conference, com-prising the Eastern and Western districts, has nine churches and six preaching points. It has a total of 2,559 members.
In a paper presented to the General Conference, the Rev Ting said that finan-cially, the Sabah Mission Conference could support itself and did not need any assist-ance from the SCAC.
The Sabah Mission Conference voted unanimously at its annual conference in 2001 to establish full ministerial membership. It voted unanimously at its annual conference in 2002 to request the SCAC to sponsor its application to become a Provisional Annual Conference.
At its annual conference in 2002, the SCAC unanimously accepted the resolution from the Sabah Mission Conference to sponsor its application at the 8th Session of the General Conference.
As the sponsoring conference, the SCAC gave five reasons to the General Conference for supporting the Sabah Mission Conference’s application: The Sabah Mission Conference has satisfied the requirement set under Paragraph 522 of the Book of Discipline of having not fewer than 10 ministers;
Both the Sabah Mission Conference and the SCAC have followed the steps as stipulated under Para. 520 and Para. 521; The Sabah Mission Conference currently has 10 ministers, two Ministers-on-Trial, three ministers for the Bahasa Malaysia Ministry, and 14 Sabahan students under training in three seminaries.
Besides the Chinese-speaking and two English-speaking congre-congregations, the Sabah Mission Conference now has five Bahasa Malaysia-speaking congregations The Sabah Mission Conference has been financially self-supporting since 1996.
STORIES AND PICTURES BY PETER TEO IN KUALA LUMPUR