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ETAC programme to minister to people from Indian sub-continent

EMMANUEL Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC) launched its New Ministry Initiatives (NMI) at Tamil Methodist Church, Short Street, on Sept 23, 2006.

At its 30th Session last year, ETAC resolved that it would broaden its ministry, which was traditionally targeted at the Tamil-speaking community in Singapore. The new focus would be to reach out and minister to the whole Indian sub-continent (India, Sri Lanka, etc) community in Singapore.

This programme would be focused on two broad categories – a student ministry and an expatriate ministry. The initial NMI focus is based on certain ground realities that are resulting in new and changing demographics.

Firstly, Singapore’s increasing reputation as an international hub for education has been resulting in a high influx of students from the Indian sub-continent. Secondly, Singapore’s determination to attract international talent across all levels of the work force has also been resulting in a high inflow of expatriates from all over the Indian sub-continent.

The NMI was launched by ETAC President, the Rev James Nagulan, and was well attended. Close to 100 participants, mainly from the seven ETAC churches, turned up. There were also representatives from student ministries such as the FES (Fellowship of Evangelical Students) and IFS (International Friendship Ministries), as well as some students from the National University of Singapore.

Bishop Dr Robert Solomon presided over the launch and shared his vision for the NMI.

Pastor Paul Asveen, a Member-On-Trial with Ang Mo Kio Tamil Methodist Church, who is coordinating the NMI, made a presentation on the goals and objectives of the NMI and shared some early thoughts on how this primarily evangelistic ministry would take shape.

The backbone of this ministry would be NMI volunteers who would be willing to befriend and build relationships with students and expatriates trying to fit into a new environment and culture.

For instance, some volunteer families could host students or expatriates during special festive occasions, when the latter are most likely to feel homesick. Other volunteers could guide students in their studies and career choices, especially if they are from the same professional background.

“There are many other ways volunteers could participate,” he said. “All that is required is to open our hearts and our homes and show genuine Christian love.”