33RD SESSION OF EMMANUEL TAMIL ANNUAL CONFERENCE: NOV 7-8, 2008
THE Rev James Nagulan was reelected President of Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC) at its 33rd Session, which was held at Ang Mo Kio Tamil Methodist Church on Nov 7 and 8. He was voted in on the 6th ballot on Nov 8.
Thanking the delegates for their renewed confidence in his leadership, he assured them of giving of his best, with God’s help. Mr Stephen Shadrak was elected the Vice-President.
The 8th Quadrennium ended on a blessed note for ETAC as the Telugu Methodist Church (Singapore) was constituted on July 27, 2008 and became the 8th Local Church in ETAC.
Pastor Anil Kumar Samuel was ordained as a Deacon by Bishop Dr Robert Solomon. Pastor Anil was appointed as the Pastor-in-Charge of the Telugu Methodist Church (Singapore) by the ETAC President.
It was indeed a happy occasion for the Telugu members who witnessed his ordination and were commended by the Bishop for their participation in their first Annual Conference session.
In his sermon at the Opening Service on Nov 7, the Bishop urged the congregation members to “be on your guard and to grow spiritually”.
The Church today faces the danger of being an “open house that allows all kinds of things in”.
“We must be guarding at the door,” he said. “We must guard our spiritual lives.
Paul’s advice is important: ‘Watch your life and doctrine closely’ ” (1 Tim. 4:16).
“We are also called to grow spiritually as children of God. Notice that our growth has to do with our Lord Jesus Christ. Without building our relationship with Him,
we cannot grow.
“Growth is not to be measured in terms of our involvement in some programme, or even how many verses we have memorised, or how much we are doing for God. Growth is measured in terms of how much we relate to Jesus, how much we know Him, and love Him.”
Key officers elected include Mr R. Selvathurai as the Conference Lay Leader, Mr Solomon Joseph as Assistant Lay Leader, Ms Shanthi Jeremiah as the Conference Secretary, Mr Melvin Dineshraj as the Treasurer, the Rev R. Prabhu as Chairman of the Board of Nominations, Mr M. Geevananthan as Chairman of the Board of Finance, and Mrs Veronica Poore as Chairman of the Board of Presidency. STORY AND PICTURE BY SHANTHI JEREMIAH
Shanthi Jeremiah is a member of Tamil Methodist Church.
ETAC sees growth in membership and attendance
EMMANUEL Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC) has seen a growth in membership and attendance, mainly attributable to the increasing number of expatriate members being received.
The increase in the year 2008 of 16.5 per cent in the total membership of the Conference is primarily due to the formation of the Telugu Methodist Church (Singapore), although the quadrennial membership increase was slightly more than 25 per cent.
The inauguration of the Telugu Methodist Church (Singapore) was held on July 27, 2008 at Tamil Methodist Church, Short Street, making it the eighth ETAC church.
A ministry to university students initiated nearly three years ago has grown and is well received by foreign and local students alike. Their in-depth Bible studies were conducted by Pastor Paul Asveen, who is unfortunately relocating to India, and a new director is needed.
ETAC President the Rev James Nagulan made these points in his President’s Address, in which he reviewed the theme and events of the past year. His address was later accepted by the Conference.
He welcomed the new ETAC Women’s Society of Christian Service President, Ms Gananmani Aruldoss. He noted that there are problems getting people to come forward to take leadership in an organisation that has done much in missions and evangelism, and recently, helping to reach out to the community and promoting a deeper study of the Word in order to help them grow and lead in serving the Lord.
He pointed out that the spiritual life of the ministers was supported by regular Friday prayers and a monthly fellowship meeting.
The lay leadership is expressed through the Conference Programme Boards, all of whom serve in their respective Local Church Executive Committees (LCECs), spending long hours in planning conference-level programmes. More such leaders are required to consider Conference leadership.
At issue also is that there is a lack of support for the programmes the Boards plan, and perhaps they need to be more aware of the needs of local churches.
Two concerns stand out: the Jurong Tamil Methodist Church has had to relocate to an Anglican church at the West Coast Recreation Centre. It is hoped that the congregation will be able to get a more permanent location; at the same time, Ang Mo Kio Tamil Methodist Church has to raise $780,000 for an extension project jointly with the Chinese Annual Conference and Trinity Annual Conference congregations, and the Rev Nagulan hopes that ETAC will fully support fund-raising efforts.
An important characteristic of ETAC churches is the influx of migrant workers and expatriate professionals. They should be welcomed by us as a Christian community, despite social and cultural differences, said the Rev Nagulan.
The responsibility may be called a “Mission at the Doorstep” or “Reverse Missions”, and is already taking place through worship services catering to these people, and he hopes that the new Board of Evangelism will be challenged to do even more to meet their spiritual needs.
Earnest Lau is the Associate Editor of Methodist Message.