Conference decides to partner MWS in pilot project

THE General Conference Women’s Society of Christian Service (GC-WSCS) has taken up the challenge of setting up a Post-Care Hostel for Teenage Girls in partnership with the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS).

The decision was taken at its 9th Quadrennial Session at the Bayview Hotel in Malacca after the proposal to set up the hostel was presented by the outgoing President, Mrs Laureen Ong, who described it as “a great challenge and opportunity to demonstrate God’s love”. The three-day conference was held from Aug 15 to 17.

Giving the background and some details of the project to the 100-odd delegates and observers, Mrs Ong said the MWS would like to partner GC-WSCS on this “worthwhile” pilot project at the initial suggestion of the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS).

The hostel will look after girls who have been admitted to institutions and are assessed to be in moral danger; girls placed in institutions because they are beyond parental control; and girls who are orphans or whose parents are missing – in prisons or uncontactable.

The MCYS feels that the MWS is “uniquely positioned” to implement this project as it has family service centres, expertise and community-related experience.

Mrs Ong emphasised that a commitment of at least five years would be required from the GC-WSCS. The estimated total operating expenditure is about $380,000 a year. “We expect to obtain partial government funding,” she said.

She added: “We will need a group of committed volunteers to help run the hostel. Besides getting staff and resources, we also need volunteers who can teach craftwork and life-skills to the girls.”

In keeping with the theme of the conference, she challenged the WSCS women: “Dare to Make a Difference! Be Ambassadors for Christ.”

In between the business sessions of the quadrennial conference, there were messages and teaching sessions from Bishop Dr Robert Solomon, the keynote speaker, who also administered the Holy Communion and installed the newly-elected Executive Committee at the end of the conference before Mrs Ong declared the 9th Session of the conference closed.

Mrs Malar Solomon was the guest speaker, and she spoke at the start of the Opening Service. In his first keynote address on Aug 16, Bishop Dr Solomon urged the women to be faithful and fearless ambassadors of Christ, saying: “To be an ambassador for Christ is an honour. We represent the Lord. We are to proclaim the message of reconciliation. We are to carry ourselves well, we are to exhibit Christlikeness.”

“But,” he cautioned, “Be prepared for suffering. Show fearlessness because Jesus – and faithfulness to Him – is more important than anything else.”

In his Closing Service message, the Bishop referred to the donkey of Palm Sunday and said that Jesus, riding on a donkey, was part of God’s eternal plans.

“Jesus,” he said, “also has a plan for you. He offers to free you to obey Him and go where He goes. This requires obedience and sacrifice.

“If you do this, you will be part of a great procession that spreads God’s fragrance everywhere,” added the Bishop, who also gave two illuminating lessons on “Spiritual Formation” during the conference.

For the first time, four youths were invited to attend the conference as special guests. They were Miss K. B. Ryna Mahindapala from Tamil Methodist Church, Miss Doreen Soon Yun Hui (Toa Payoh Chinese MC), Miss Joy Zhu Fang Ying (Paya Lebar MC), and Miss Eliora Peh Chan Min (Pentecost MC).

Mrs Ong said that their presence would “help open their eyes and minds” to the work of the WSCS so that they would be drawn into the organisation and encourage other young women to come alongside them.

The conference elected Mrs Dorothy Lim as the new President for the next quadrennium. The two Vice-Presidents are Dr (Mrs) Teo Li Bee and Mrs Kanagi Kanakarajan. The secretaries are Mrs Evelyn Lee and Mdm Florence Yen, and the treasurers are Ms Flora Chew and Mrs Choo Lai Eng. The advisers are Immediate Past President, Mrs Laureen Ong, Mrs Irene Jeevaratnam, Mdm Wong Peh Wah and Mrs Irene Ang.

In her report as President of the Chinese Annual Conference WSCS, Mrs Lim highlighted the effort put in the mission to the Chinese immigrants in Singapore besides its overseas missions work.

CAC WSCS women are partnering Geylang Chinese Methodist Church in teaching the English Course and the Alpha Course.

“We have been conducting Leadership Training Programmes to upgrade the skills of our Conference and Local Executive Committee Members so that areas like evangelism, mission, social concerns and nurture will be given a sharper focus,” she said.

In her President’s report for Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference WSCS, Mrs Kanagi noted that more of her members are more involved in missions and social concerns work.

ETAC WSCS raised money to help build a church in Rayakottai, Hosur, South India last year. Mission trips to South India and Myanmar were organised not only to create awareness about missions work but also to minister to the people in those countries.

“As for social concerns,” she said, “our women have been making weekly visits to Christalite Home.”

Dr (Mrs) Lee, in her TRAC WSCS President’s report, highlighted significant developments in the last quadrennium, which saw the “births” of Christalite Methodist Chapel WSCS in 2005 and Agape Methodist Church WSCS in 2006. This brings TRAC WSCS to 15 societies.

“Local societies have progressed along with the ministries of their local churches recognising the necessity to be different in character and needs of the various churches.”

She added that TRAC WSCS members have moved more into prayer, Bible and book study, and become more missions oriented and have stronger evangelistic thrust at meetings.

A TRAC WSCS Membership Age Profile Survey has shown that younger women are being drawn into the WSCS in the past two years. Now, six societies have members between the ages of 20 and 30.

Peter Teo is the Editor of Methodist Message