On 16 March 2021, the Thai Mission of the Methodist Church in Singapore, also known as the Mettakij Church Association (MCA), was officially declared by Bishop Dr Gordon Wong to be a Mission Conference, marking a historic milestone in the journey of the Methodist Church in Thailand.
The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS), through the efforts of the late Rev Dr Clarence Lim, established the Thai Mission in 1994. On 19 March 2005, upon MMS’s recommendation, the Thai Mission became an Annual Meeting in accordance with the decision of the Presiding Bishop and the Council of Presidents of MCS. This led to the official formation of the MCA.
The plan was to declare MCA a Mission Conference in March 2020. Owing to COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions, it had to be deferred until the 16th Annual Meeting that took place in March this year. It was the first time that the Annual Meeting was conducted on a virtual platform with delegates from MCS, MMS and representatives from the partner Methodist churches participating online from Singapore. We thank God that most of our MCA members could meet at Shineforth Methodist Church, Chiang Mai, and participate in the Annual Meeting.
Rev Derrick Lau was instrumental in establishing MCA as a Mission Conference. In his address as our Mission Superintendent, he praised God for His sovereignty and grace in enabling MCA to fulfil His mandate in Thailand. He was heartened to learn of the many encouraging reports of progress made by our fellow Thai leaders and MMS missionaries.
Rev Lau placed on record his deep thanks and appreciation to one and all who have contributed and committed their service. These include our national leaders, both clergy and laity, the many volunteers serving in the School Boards, the management of infrastructure projects, our missionaries, and the Home Team and volunteers supporting the operational, financial, personnel, training and education needs of our ministry in Thailand. They have all been exemplary in their passion and commitment in supporting and working with our Thai team.
It is an opportune time to acknowledge with appreciation, the support and prayers from our Singapore partner churches. They have contributed immensely in our various initiatives and projects and have been a divine blessing to MCA. As MCA continues her journey, we will undoubtedly continue to engage our valued partners and look to build new partnerships with other Singapore Methodist churches through our church engagement efforts.
We praise and thank God for the partnership with our Thai brothers and sisters who are labouring conscientiously for the mission of Christ. We are deeply thankful to God for their gifts of time, talents and resources. We pray that God will bless them and their families as we serve together in the “unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:3).
Significantly, as we celebrate the establishment of the Mission Conference, we need to sustain our efforts toward achieving our vision of attaining Provisional Annual Conference status by 2024/25. We now have the pre-requisite number of Elders to meet the requirements stipulated in the Book of Discipline. However, we do need to have a physical Ordination Service for our Elders-elect when COVID-19 travel restrictions allow.
To support the Mission Conference, the following were established:
- Provisional Board of Ordained Ministry (PBOM)
- Discipline Drafting Committee (DDC)
- Provisional Judiciary
As part of the efforts towards developing and equipping our missionaries and national leaders, we conducted a three-day training programme immediately after the Annual Meeting. The programme included broadening our pastors’ understanding of Methodism, theological aspects of salvation, Holy Communion and child baptism, and family and social concerns. This will equip and enable them to impart the knowledge gained to their members, building for the future.
Finally, the Mission Conference of MCA would like to thank MCS for establishing the Thai Mission in 1994. MCA would also like to express their thankfulness and appreciation to Bishop Emeritus Dr Chong Chin Chung for his active participation and inspiring leadership in the last quadrennium. It looks forward to the episcopal leadership of Bishop Dr Gordon Wong.
Col (Ret) Quek Koh Eng is the Area Director (Thailand & Vietnam) for the Methodist Missions Society (MMS). He is also the Field & Church Engagement Director. He worships at Charis Methodist Church. Rev Henry Yeo is the MMS Country Director of Thailand and District Superintendent in Thailand. / Photos courtesy of Methodist Missions Society.