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An exciting event for all Methodists


ALDERSGATE Convention 2004, to be held from May 20-24 this year, promises to be an exciting event for all Methodists, especially those who hunger for biblical teachings and wish to learn more about our rich Wesleyan heritage.

The theme is “Strangely warmed: Religion of the Heart”. To enable more Methodists to benefit from the Convention, the event will be conducted in English with simultaneous translations in Mandarin and Tamil.

The keynote speaker is Dr Ajith Fernando from Sri Lanka, one of Asia’s most powerful and sought-after speakers.
Also a respected Bible teacher, author and a regular visiting lecturer at several theological seminaries in North America and Asia, he was the only Asian invited to be a keynote speaker at the 18th World Methodist Conference in Brighton, England, in July 2001.

Dr Fernando and his family members are very active in their home Methodist church in Sri Lanka. He will deliver three evening talks on May 20, 21 and 22 at 7.45 pm nightly at the sanctuary of Barker Road Methodist Church. He will speak on “Vital Holiness”, “Joyous Assurance” and “Overcoming Weakness” in that order on these three evenings.

Then at the Aldersgate Service on May 24, also at 7.45 pm, Dr Fernando, who is the National Director of Youth for Christ (YFC) in Sri Lanka, will address the topic “Passionate Living”. The venue is Paya Lebar Methodist Church in Boundary Road.

In addition to these talks, there will be a two-day seminar – “Nurturing Religion of the Heart” – on May 21 and 22 from 9 am to 5 pm at Sophia Blackmore Hall, 6th floor Methodist Centre. They will be conducted by an experienced husband-and-wife team of seminar leaders, the Rev Dr David Lowes Watson and the Rev Gayle Turner Watson from the United Methodist Church, the US.

The Rev Dr Watson is Director of the Office or Pastoral Formation for the Nashville Episcopal Area of the United Methodist Church. He has taught at Southern Methodist University as Professor Evangelism at Perkins School of Theology and at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington DC as Professor of Theology and Congregational Life and Mission.

He has also written extensively in the fields of Methodist history and theology, evangelism, and congregational life and mission.

His wife is the Pastor of Blackman United Methodist Church in the Tennessee Conference.

A focus of her pastoral work has been the introduction and resourcing in congregations of Covenant Discipleship Groups, an adaptation of the early Methodist class meeting, for the church of today. She is the author of the basic handbook for these groups, Guide for Covenant Discipleship, published in 2000 and now in its fifth printing.

Registration is needed for the seminars. The fee is $70 per person for the two-day seminar. However, there will be an “early bird” special fee of $50 per person for those who register on or before March 15, 2004. Group registration of every 10 people will also be entitled to the “early bird” special. In addition, every group of 10 will get one free registration, i.e. they need to pay only for nine people.

Registration forms are being sent out to churches and organisations.

The seminars will consist of six sessions. They include topics such as “The Importance of John Wesley for the Church of Today”, “A Matter of Heart and Life: Discipleship in the Methodist Tradition”, “The Dynamics of Covenant Discipleship Groups” and “The Role of Covenant Discipleship Groups in forming Pastoral Leadership”.
Dr Fernando will kick off the series with the topic “My Experience of Accountable Discipleship”.