Methodist Church

Dancing, singing mark COSI’s 5th anniversary

MORE THAN 200 people gathered to celebrate the 5th anniversary of COSI (Community Outreach Services Immanuel) in Angsnoul, Cambodia, on May 26, 2007. Instead of dampening the festive spirit, an afternoon rainstorm brought a much-appreciated cool breeze.

The open-air meeting area was cheerfully decorated with colourful balloons and crepe-paper streamers. Special guests included the village chief, local school principal, and a group of youths from Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) in Singapore.

The COSI children provided a two-hour programme of singing, dancing and sharing of testimony. Accompanied by keyboard, guitar, and roneat (the traditional Khmer wooden xylophone), the older girls kicked off the ceremony with the “Blessing Dance”. The children were divided into different groups by age, and presented three songs with interpretative dance.

A teenager gave his testimony, sharing that his father left when he was a young child and his mother was unable to care for him. He ran away from home and fell in with a very rough crowd. After suffering much fear and abuse in the streets, he found his way back home. A Methodist pastor heard about his situation, and recommended him to COSI. The youth expressed his deep appreciation to God for saving his life and giving him the opportunity to live at COSI.

COSI officially opened in May 2002 with 64 children who were orphans or in families unable to care for them. Today, there are 121 residents and 20 staff members. A short slide presentation entitled, “COSI is all about children”, was created specially for the celebration, showing photos of the children over the past five years. The Rev Philip Lim, the Methodist Missions Society’s Cambodia Country Coordinator, provided a message of inspiration from Jeremiah 17:7-8, comparing the children to fruits on a tree nourished by the stream of God’s love.

Later, the older boys and girls presented the “Coconut Dance”, a traditional Khmer dance using coconut shells as percussion instruments.

Before coming to COSI, the ACS (I) students collected 10 used computers and held fund-raising projects to purchase a guitar, soccer balls and Frisbees for the residents.

In honour of the occasion, one of the ACS (I) students played a traditional song on a Chinese flute while the residents sang along.

The programme ended with the presentation of birthday cakes topped with five candles. The Rev Lim, COSI Manager Carol Ong, and other staff blew out the candles and cut the cakes. This was followed by a barbeque.

What a happy and heartwarming experience! As our group left for the drive back to Phnom Penh, my heart was filled with joy and gratitude for God’s blessings on the children and staff.

Teresa Wilborn is a member of Aldersgate Methodist Church.

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Methodist Church in Malaysia to hold Prayer Convention 2007

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KUALA LUMPUR – The Methodist Church in Malaysia is organising the Methodist Prayer Convention (MPC) 2007, which will be held at the Sunway Convention Centre on Aug 31 and Sept 1.

Some 3,500 Methodists from all the Annual Conferences are expected to attend. This will be the first gathering of Malaysian Methodists on such a big scale, and it poses a challenge for the logistics committee.

The closing session on Sept 2 will pose a bigger challenge as it will be held at the Shah Alam Indoor Stadium, which has a capacity of 11,700 people.

This time of celebration and thanksgiving will be opened to all the Methodist congregations, especially those in the Klang Valley, to fill the stadium for a historic gathering of Methodists in Malaysia.

Taking up the challenge is the logistics committee headed by Mr William Phua.

When the idea was mooted to have the closing session at the Shah Alam stadium, it was thought that that would not be possible. When approval came for its use it was an occasion of great joy. By then thinking of rounding up 3,500 people at the convention centre was no longer an issue compared to the logistical challenge of gathering 11,000 people.

Providing 11,000 cups for the Holy Communion that morning, for example, highlights the kind of things the committee needs to resolve, the scale of which has not been attempted before. But members of the committee are working together in a well-coordinated structure.

Working together with Mr Phua are two people in the Conference Secretariat – Major Tan Hock Hin and Ms Chang Meng Chien – and a Chief Coordinator, Mr Steven Sekhar, with eight sub-committees covering all aspects of the organisation – registration, guests, security, transportation, stage, ushering/ Communion, medical and refreshments. – Pelita Methodist.

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