70 respond to invitation to serve in various capacities
THE Methodist Volunteers movement was officially launched at a service of dedication on Dec 28, 2002 at Toa Payoh Methodist Church with a gathering of 200 people. And what an inspiring service it turned out to be!
During the service about 70 people responded to an invitation to further commit themselves as disciples of Jesus Christ through some form of volunteer work. All who are currently volunteering in the community were also acknowledged and blessed.
Among the oldest volunteers who turned up, in terms of age and years of volunteer service, were Mr Khoo Hock Nam, 85, and Mr Richard Tambyah, 81, both of whom were founder members of the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS).
Mr Tambyah was the first chairman of the MWS, while Mr Khoo, father of the President of the Chinese Annual Conference, the Rev Khoo Cheng Hoot, was the third. Both are now serving as Advisers to the MWS.
Preaching on the Gospel story of Jesus healing the paralytic (Mark 2.1-12), Bishop Dr Robert Solomon said that so many people came to the house where Jesus was healing. So many were milling around the door that four friends bringing a paralytic could not enter. They had to cut a hole in the ceiling to bring the man to Jesus.
Bishop Dr Solomon said he hoped that the Methodist Volunteers “will not be like that crowd that was just milling around, but we will be like the four friends who knew what to do and did it”.
The Methodist Volunteers movement is an initiative of the Bishop’s Office. It seeks “to recruit, train, encourage and mobilise Methodist volunteers to serve in our Methodist agencies and in the wider community”. Mr John Cheong is the Chairman of the Methodist Volunteers Co-ordinating Committee.
More volunteers are sought for the various Methodist agencies, including the Methodist Welfare Services, the Methodist Missions Society and the Methodist schools. At the same time it is the desire of Methodist Volunteers to relate active volunteering with the personal discipleship cultivated in our local churches.
As Bishop Dr Solomon said: “John Wesley understood the biblical imperative that our faith has to be put into practice, that faith without works is dead. To be a disciple of Christ is to spend one’s life loving and serving God and neighbour.”
Christian volunteers ought to be “rooted in Christ, serving others”. That is the vision statement of the Methodist Volunteers.
Following the service, Mr Cheong led the plenary with a powerpoint presentation on the meaning, structure and purpose of the Methodist Volunteers. He called on representatives of agencies and volunteers to share insights into the social needs and values of volunteering.
Special guests at the dedication service were the Executive Director of the National Volunteer Centre (NVC), Mrs Tan Chee Koon, and the NVC Deputy Director, Ms Ong Bee Eng. Mrs Tan, who coincidentally is a member of Hinghwa Methodist Church, shared her hopes for the Methodist Volunteers.
Taking a leading part in the service were the Rev Khoo Cheng Hoot, President of the Chinese Annual Conference (CAC); Mr Chan Fook Kay, Lay Leader of the CAC; Mr M. Geevananthan, Lay Leader of Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference; Mr Kim Seah, Lay Leader of Trinity Annual Conference; and the Rev George Martzen, Minister Attached to the Bishop’s Office.
Following the service and plenary, guests adjourned for tea and looked at displays put up by the Methodist agencies: the Methodist Welfare Services, Hospice, Methodist schools’ Parent Support Groups, Methodist Message, Women’s Society of Christian Service, Methodist Missions Society and Methodist School of Music. Tea was catered by the Methodist Co-operative Society.