Methodist Church

4th Annual Meeting of The Methodist Mission in Cambodia: Phnom Penh

A milestone in the journey of Methodism in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH – The 4th Annual Meeting of the Methodist Mission in Cambodia (MMC) marks another milestone in the life and journey of the People Called Methodists in Cambodia, which calls both for celebration and deeper commitment to discipleship and servanthood.

A total of 79 delegates – 25 Khmer pastors, 16 Khmer lay leaders, the Cambodia Methodist Women (CMW) and the Cambodia Methodist Youth (CMY) Presidents, 24 missionaries, and 12 Coordinating Board members from the partner mission agencies – attended the meeting, held at the Cambodia Methodist Bible School on Sept 7 and 8, 2007.

Also present were 23 non-delegate Khmer pastors, who were candidates for ordination, Members-on-Trial Year 1 and applicants for Licences to Preach, two CMW and two CMY officers. There were also local and foreign guests and observers.

The event was blessed by the Episcopal leadership of the Council of Bishops consisting of the Presiding Bishop, Bishop Dr Robert Solomon (The Methodist Church in Singapore), Bishop Roy Sano (The United Methodist Church USA/Swiss French) and Bishop Han Chung Suk (Korea Methodist Church).

There are new and exciting developments that mark the history of Methodism in this country. We celebrate God’s love in Jesus Christ that continues to bless and reach out to many lives.

So what makes this Annual Meeting more significant and exciting that calls for celebration and deeper commitment to serve God?

First, we rejoice on the ordination of one new Elder and nine new Deacons, who include two young women pastors, on Sept 8, 2007.

They are: Elder – the Rev Seng Dyna; Deacons – the Rev Chap En, the Rev Chum Pon, the Rev Ean Houn, the Rev Hong Phally, the Rev Kim Vivath, the Rev Lun Sokhom, the Rev Mean Hongly, the Rev Sam Setha and the Rev Sot Borith.

With their ordination, the MMC now has six ordained Elders (including one woman) and 15 ordained Deacons (including two women).

Second, The Provisional Book of Discipline of The Methodist Church in Cambodia and its Predecessors (The People Called Methodists in Cambodia and The Mission Conference of the People Called Methodists in Cambodia) has been approved and adopted. The contents included are: The Social Creed, The Local Church and The Ministry. Full implementation will take effect right after the Annual Meeting, particularly as the main goal is to declare the MMC as an official Mission Conference at the end of the 5th Annual Meeting in August 2008, which will be another milestone towards the birth of The Methodist Church in Cambodia envisioned in 2016.

Third, the MMC has been re-structured from seven to 10 District areas; thus, the appointment of 10 District Superintendents.

They are the Rev Hem San (MMC) for Kompong Speu/Kompong Sam/Koh Kong; the Rev Prak Vuthy (MMC) for Takeo and Kampot; the Rev Troeung Chan Bony ( MMC) for Battambang/ Pailin; the Rev Kim Kyung Il (KMC) for Banteay Meanchey/ Ordor Meanchey/ Siem Reap; the Rev Kim Sun Jung (KMC) for Prey Veang/ Svay Reang; the Rev Sung Jin Sup ( KMC) for Kompong Chhnang & Pursat; the Rev Philip Lim (MMS) for Kandal; the Rev Jessica Tiong (WFCMC) for Phnom Penh; the Rev Pauline Ling (WFCMC) for Kompong Tom/ Kompong Cham/ Preah Vihear; and the Rev Joseph Chan (UMC-Cambodian Expatriatre) assigned in Mondulkiri/Rathanakiri/ Steng Treng/ Kratie for pioneer work.

Moving towards self-government, four of the District Superintendents are Khmer Elders. The Rev Lun Sophy, another Khmer Elder, is appointed as the Cabinet Secretary.

Fourth, starting from this 4th Annual Meeting, all the chairmen of the various committees of the Executive Board, and the Presidents of the CMW and CMY have given their annual reports. Written committee reports were included in the 4th Annual Meeting Journal. The 11 committees are Children, Christian Education, Congregational Development, Finance, Men, Publication, Social Concern, Theological Education, Trustees, Women, and Youth. As these are the programme arms, they reflect the total and holistic ministry of the Methodist Mission.

Fifth, in response to the vision of self-sustainability, the Annual Meeting has increased the local church contribution towards the MMC centralised budget from 1 per cent of its regular offering in 2007 (about $500) to 5 per cent in 2008 (about $2,500). While the figure is very minimal compared to the total budget, it is a significant beginning.

In addition, the 2007 Statistics Report shows worthwhile figures to celebrate: There are 145 local congregations, 157 local pastors, 542 newly-baptised Methodists, a total of 4,714 members/ church-goers in the Methodist congregations, and 31 Methodist international missionaries.

Furthermore, the Meeting led by Bishop Dr Solomon acknowledged with grateful appreciation the outgoing Mission Superintendent, the Rev William F. Warnock, and his wife, Grace, a GBGM missionary colleague, for their invaluable contribution to the ministry and growth of the MMC.

The Rev Warnock has served in that position from April 2006 to Nov 30, 2007. The dedicated missionary couple is due to return back to the US this month to finally claim retirement.

The Presiding Bishop has appointed the Rev Song Jin Sup, Country Director of KMC, to be the MMC Mission Superintendent with effect from Dec 1, 2007. The Rev Song served as Mission Superintendent on Sept 1, 2005 to March 31, 2006 prior to his sabbatical leave.

Lastly, we celebrate the faithfulness and commitment of all the People Called Methodist in Cambodia and all the mission partners in loving and serving the Lord! To God be the Glory!

The Rev Beverly Fronda-Barte, a GBGM missionary from the US, is Chairman of Christian Education and Continuing Education Programmes of The Methodist Mission in Cambodia.