33RD SESSION OF ETAC: NOV 7-8, 2008 33RD SESSION OF CAC: NOV 10-110-14, 2008
THE pastoral calling is a high calling, and pastors have been reminded of four challenges that will help them maintain the high standards expected of them.
Stating this unequivocally, Bishop Dr Robert Solomon said pastors are to:
◆ “Stand before God with awe,
◆ Walk with God in uprightness and peace,
◆ Speak for God as His faithful messenger, and
◆ Turn people from sin to God.”
The Bishop was delivering his message at the Closing-cum-Ordination Service of the 33rd Session of Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC) at Ang Mo Kio Tamil Methodist Church on Nov 8, 2008.
Following his sermon, entitled “A Challenge for Pastors”, based on the text from Malachi 2:4-7, he ordained Pastor Anil Samuel as a Deacon.
The Rev Anil Samuel is the pastor looking after the newly-constituted Telugu Methodist Church (Singapore) which meets at the Tamil Methodist Church in Short Street.
Given the importance of the message, the Bishop delivered the same sermon at the Closing-cum-Ordination Service of the Chinese Annual Conference (CAC) at Hakka Methodist Church on Nov 14. Here he ordained two Deacons – the Rev Anne Lim Ai Lei and the Rev Chan Kok Chuon – and three Elders – the Rev Helen Hoe Chiew Ngin, the Rev Lisa Yu Li Hsin and the Rev Wilfred Leow Hui Ann.
Earlier, he had installed the newly-elected President of the CAC, the Rev Dr Chong Chin Chung, who was voted into office on Nov 11.
In his first address as the President-elect of the CAC, the Rev Dr Chong thanked the Conference for electing him as its head and said what he was experiencing was very difficult for him to express in words as he was “trembling with fear”.
Addressing the Conference immediately after he had been installed, he said that although “I feel I am unworthy of this honour and overwhelmed by the task”, he was confident he could carry out his responsibilities and overcome problems because “you pastors have pledged to give me your support”.
“I remember those of you who pledged to give me support. I remember your names,” he said, to laughter from the congregation.
“I will remember this day, and I beseech you to pray for me, pray for our Conference and pray for our Methodist Church.”
Expanding on the challenges pastors face, Bishop Dr Solomon said first, pastors have a demanding role to play. He warned that over time, the high standards expected of them may decline, and he reminded them of God’s challenge to “remember the high standards from days of old”, referring to God’s covenant with Levi (Mal. 2:4).
The Bishop said: “We are called to stand before God with awe. Why? Because God’s name is holy and awesome.”
But, he asked, “Do we have such awe in church today? God’s Word is lightly treated
when sermons are preached to entertain. Or when listeners become consumerist critics.
“Is there a trembling in the presence of God’s Word? Do we stand in awe of God’s
The pastor, he continued, not only stands before God with awe, but also walks with God in peace and uprightness (Mal.2:6). “How can we walk with God? We do so by following Him. Such walking with God brings forth fruit. There is a change in
personality and character.”
Emphasising a pastor’s “special and high calling”, the Bishop said: “He is God’s messenger. A messenger is expected to be trustworthy and faithful.
“His message is true. Malachi 2:6 says, ‘True instruction was in his mouth and
nothing false was found on his lips.’ ” Finally, one of the pastor’s key ministries is to turn people from sin and to God, said the Bishop.
“How can we turn people from sin if we don’t preach about sin? The Gospel deals primarily with the human problems of sin and death – and God’s gracious solution in Christ Jesus.
“To turn people from sin, we ourselves should have turned from sin. Turning from sin is not just an event but a lifelong process. And we should focus not just on personal but also corporate sins.”
CAC PICTURES BY BENJAMIN YU ◆ ◆ ETAC PICTURE BY SHANTHI JEREMIAH