“Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.”
– John 17:11
Since assuming office almost a year ago, I have had the opportunity to attend several Methodist regional conferences as well as interdenominational meetings. These were eye-opening experiences for me as I witnessed the wonderful results achieved through various methods employed in the ministries of God’s Kingdom. I was also encouraged and moved by many touching personal testimonies of God’s people, across cultures and nationalities.
Christ’s Church is universal and churches must not be parochial and sectarian. While the various denominations may have their respective distinguishing characteristics, they need not be prejudiced against each other.
For various reasons, different denominations emerged during the Protestant Reformation. Some came about due to distinct views on doctrines. Others arose out of differences in liturgy and the expression of worship, while yet others were established over concerns regarding ordination and clergy structure, or even varying emphasis given to spiritual experiences of believers.
While the branching out may have been inevitable, we commend instances where those differences had been handled reasonably and in the spirit of mutual respect. Over time and through many trials, the various denominations today co-exist in mutual acceptance and harmony, bound by the love of Christ.
The 240 or so members of the National Council of Churches of Singapore comprise churches from the various denominations as well as independent churches. That these member churches are able to meet as a group, to discuss issues, and to pray and worship together, is a clear testimony of the remarkable unity shared among them.
The Methodist Church in Singapore is made up of three Annual Conferences. It is so designed because of the plural social context of our nation. We are not three separate Methodist Churches; we are one Methodist Church in Singapore, with one constitution, and one set of doctrinal statements.
Our strengths and unique Methodist features must be put to good use so that with one heart, we may preach the Gospel and show care and concern for our neighbours, reaching our fullest potential of blessing our community wherever we are.
Unity is strength. When we work as one Methodist Church, we are able to achieve far more than any Annual Conference doing it alone.
The Giving Methodist Project, to be carried out over the next four years, will see the whole body of Methodists in Singapore partnering with the Methodist Welfare Services to bless our community.
Let us come together as one, not only in worship during our yearly Aldersgate Sunday Celebration, but also in our daily actions to bless our neighbours, our nation, and beyond.
Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung –
was elected Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore in 2016. He served as President of the Chinese Annual Conference for two quadrennia from 2008 to 2016.
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