Registration for Aldersgate Seminar is now open

Mar 2009    

REGISTRATION for the Aldersgate Seminar, featuring the Rev Dr David Chapman, is now being accepted at the Methodist Centre, but must be received by Monday, April 20, to qualify for the early bird rate.

The seminar will be held at Sophia Blackmore Hall, Methodist Centre, on Saturday, May 23 from 9 am to 12.30 pm.

The Rev Dr Chapman is one of two speakers at the Aldersgate Convention 2009 to address the theme, “The Wesleyan Way of Being Church”. The other speaker is the Rev Dr Ting Gah Hing, who will deliver two talks in Mandarin on May 18 and May 19 at 7.45 pm each evening.

The Aldersgate Seminar is one element in the week-long 2009 Aldersgate Convention. Held every year to mark John Wesley’s experience of assurance, the convention comprises five evening talks (two in Mandarin), the seminar and the Aldersgate Service on Saturday evening.

An ordained pastor of The Methodist Church in Britain, the Rev Dr Chapman will lead the seminar on May 23 on the topic “The Methodist Experience of Worship”.

Participants will explore two often conflicting characteristics of Methodist worship.

According to the Rev Dr Chapman, those two characteristics were typified in John Wesley’s The Sunday Service of the Methodists in North America.

Wesley sent this booklet to America in 1784 at the founding of the Methodist Episcopal Church there. An abridgement of the esteemed 1662 Book of Common
Prayer, Wesley’s book presented the formal tradition as well as provided for “extempore” prayer and other informal styles of worship.

The seminar will consider various ways in which the forms of our contemporary and indigenous cultures can become bearers of the Methodist worship tradition. The Rev Dr Chapman will help participants to understand the sacramental aspects of worship and the value of using material things and actions, such as anointing with oil, lighting candles, creative arts, music, images and dance.

Registration for the seminar is $15 for individuals, $100 for each group of 10, and $10 for individual early bird registrations received by April 20. Tea will be provided.

Flyers and registration materials, along with posters about the upcoming Convention, have been distributed to local Methodist churches, schools and agencies.

They can also be picked up at the Methodist Centre or viewed online at the Methodist website, www.methodist.org.sg

Charis Vineyard League formed to brighten lives of seniors

IT IS happening everywhere in the community around us, as the baby boomers turned into seniors, some line dancing, some into other activities, threads silvering graciously, on golden songs … visits … clubs.

In Charis Methodist Church, with 30 per cent of the membership above 50 years old, 20 of whom are above 65 years, seven “younger old men” discussed discreetly what the Charis response should be. Surprisingly there was a congruence of ideas which led to the formation of a fellowship for the growing need. We called the fellowship the Charis Vineyard League.

There are members already in cell groups, some in other ministry in and out of church (choir, leaders in Bible Study Fellowship, holding positions in organisations such as the Methodist Missions Society), and some not in any fellowship groupings at all. While we expect that people will continue to be with their cell groups and ministries, the League will provide a common meeting place for everyone.

In terms of age and stages, they are working, not working, retirees, pre-retirees, able, not-so-able, grandparents with and without grandchildren to care for. The “able” will have to care for the “Notso- Able”. (In this context, a 65-year-old retiree may be more able than a 50-yearold grandparent with a child to care for.)

The mixed and varied pattern of needs presents a challenge to the League – how to organise activities, where is the focus?

But challenges should not deter us from heading towards our goal. So the seven core members agreed on a charter of the League for members to firstly recognise a need for this fellowship and to identify with it, then, to make a commitment to participate, support and own it.

Announcing the formation of the League at its Inaugural Dinner on Jan 1, 2009, Col (Retd) Quek Koh Eng laid out the implementation plan with the first stage to build up committed members, then to plan activities over a wide spectrum to cover intellectual, physical, spiritual and emotional needs. Then in the fulfillment stage, we become selfsupporting, having a larger and stronger support group with a firm sense of identity and commitment that can serve and care for the older members.

How the League will function will not be easy but it will be evolving, meeting the various needs with Christian perspectives, yet binding all together. The League resolves to develop a model for the next generation to follow.

Speaking at the dinner, Bishop Dr Robert Solomon identified with the attendees as people who had moved from “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” to “Without me (Christ) you can do nothing”. His message was based on the text from John 15 (I am the Vine).

He encouraged the attendees to accept this stage of life graciously in continued obedience and surrender to the Master of the Vineyard. He mentioned meeting two older persons who told him that there are “many of us out there who are not done yet”.

The Bishop added that all it takes is for that touch, that motivation from the Lord to spark off something that would move the Christian community through these older members. After all, Moses and Abraham could not be considered young blood, he said.

Richard Tan is one of the seven core members who helped to form the Charis Vineyard League.


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