Aldersgate Convention 2009 to focus on ‘Wesleyan Way of Being Church’

ALDERSGATE Convention 2009 will be held from May 18 to 23.

The annual week-long series of talks and seminar culminating in the Aldersgate Service will feature two keynote speakers who will explore the theme, “The Wesleyan Way of Being Church”, in English and Mandarin. The venue has not been confirmed.

The Rev Dr Ting Gah Hing will give two evening talks in Mandarin on May 18 and 19, while the Rev Dr David M. Chapman, an ordained elder of the British Methodist Conference, will speak on the evenings of May 20, 21 and 22 in English.

The Rev Dr Ting did his Ph.D at the University of Queensland (Australia), in 1996, with a thesis on “John Wesley and the
Psalms: An Examination of the Influence of the Psalms on Wesley’s Religious Language.” Before moving to Australia he had served several important ministries in the Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference, including being the Principal at the Methodist Theological School.

He has written several Bible studies and works on John Wesley, and is currently developing a systematic approach to Bible reading that will incorporate Wesleyan theology.

The Rev Dr Chapman completed his MA, MPhil and PhD at Cambridge University. He has written numerous theological articles and chapters in several books.

For the evening talks he will speak on John Wesley’s understanding of the church and ministry for today, through the following topics: “The Wesleyan Way of Being Church”, “The Ministry of the People of God”, and “The Church as Community”.

While each of the topics may stand alone, he advises that the first topic will be the foundation of the others.

The Rev Dr Chapman will also address pastors on the topic “Ecumenism in Wesleyan Perspective” on May 21 for the Pastors’ Fellowship.

In addition, he will conduct a half-day seminar entitled “The Wesleyan Experience of Worship” on the morning of May 23. In this seminar he will explore “the characteristic hallmarks of an authentic Wesleyan approach to worship and liturgy.” Registration will be required for the seminar.

He will round off the convention by preaching at the annual Aldersgate Service, which falls on Saturday, May 23. This will allow individual congregations to hold their own Aldersgate Day observance on Sunday, May 24.

While serving in congregational ministry in Britain, the Rev Dr Chapman is also active in several ecumenical activities, including the Joint Commission of Dialogue between the World Methodist Council and the Roman Catholic Church.

The Aldersgate Convention is organised each year to affirm Methodist Christians’ unity in Christ as they gather to explore their Wesleyan heritage and to be inspired by their founder John Wesley’s heartwarming experience of an assurance of salvation on Aldersgate Street in London in 1738.

Past Aldersgate convention speakers have included Methodist leaders and thinkers, such as the Rev Dr Ben Witherington, III, from America, the Rev Dr David Wilkinson from Britain, and Dr Ajith Fernando from Sri Lanka. Topics have ranged from “Religion of the Heart” to “Faith and Reason”.