Features, Highlights

Methodist women discuss their role in today’s missions

GC-WSCS hosts Asian Christian Women’s Leadership Training and Dialogue

ASIAN Methodist and United Methodist Women leaders from 14 countries, including Singapore, met here from July 27 to Aug 3, 2007 to pick up leadership skills and to dialogue on societal issues and the role of Christian women in missions today.

The Asian Christian Women’s Leadership Training and Dialogue was led by the Rev Dr Kim Hea Sun, Executive Secretary of International Ministries, Women’s Division, General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM), and Director of Global Women’s Leadership Centre (GWLC), Korea. She was accompanied by two keynote speakers, Dr Jong Nam Ho, Director of GWLC, who challenged the women with his topic “Asian Economy in the Global Context: The Role of Asian Women Leaders”, and Ms Jung Hae Park, Director of GWLC, who portrayed the reality of “Globalisation and Migrant Women”.

This was the first time that the Asian Christian Women’s Leadership Training and Dialogue has been held outside South Korea. There were about 80 participants.

The General Conference-Women’s Society of Christian Service (GC-WSCS) hosted and co-sponsored the event together with the Women’s Division of GBGM of The United Methodist Church in the US and the Global Women’s Leadership Center-Korea.

Each day began with morning devotion involving participants from different countries who led the worship and meditation. Most of the participants looked forward to the creatively designed worship which helped them to experience the theme “The Spirit of the Lord came upon me”.

Bible Study was facilitated by Ms Andris Salter, Assistant General Secretary, Women’s Division, GBGM, Ms Emma Contor, Regional Missionary GBGM, and the Rev Indriani Bone, Regional Coordinator for Women of Indonesia Methodist Church Region II. They shared on the topics, “The Spirit of the Lord came upon me – I am Chosen”, “Asian Women Tilling God’s Kingdom” and “Women’s Leadership in the Global Age – Learning from Ruth”.

They reminded the participants that as God’s chosen people, they ought to be tillers of the Kingdom of God to help women who were wounded. They could help bring about peace, justice, love and friendship.

The participants were also reminded that the world had become a global village and that the people were interdependent on one another as no country could exist on its own.

The impact the world has today on individuals, especially the women, was also highlighted. Asian Christian women leaders have the responsibility to educate and identify the needs of women in developing countries and to extend their friendship and hospitality to the “strangers and the needy in the society”.

There were six workshops. Four were on “Social Justice as Mission” led by Ms Kyung Za Kim, President of the Women’s Division of the GBGM, “Managing Finances: Personal and Organisational” by Ms Andrea Hatcher, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer GBGM, “Creative Meditation” by Ms Susan Kim, and “Worship” by Prof Glads P. Mangiduyous and Ms Jennifer Ferariza-Meneses.

Two other workshops which bonded the participants in activities were “Asian Women’s Reality” by the Rev Dr Yani Yoo, and “Communication Skills” by the Rev Dr Hea Sun Kim.

The talks and workshops were well received. The women not only participated fully in the discussions in their respective groups but also shared their views with all the rest.

The participants were inspired by a presentation on “Reverse Mission” given by Ms Alison Poong from the Chinese Annual Conference (CAC). Ms Poong, a full-time missionary worker with the CAC, presented the needs and struggles of migrant workers, especially the women, who are in Singapore.

She said: “Because of globalisation, mission is at your doorstep now.”

Country sharing was scheduled on evenings when members from the respective countries shared on the mission work they were doing and performed a cultural item.

During this sharing, God revealed real situations from the women who shared such as the struggles they faced as Christians in their own countries. Some, after hearing these testimonies, realised how much they have been blessed.

August 1 was a day of field trip. The participants visited the NEWater Visitor Centre. They were impressed by the science and technology Singapore had embarked on to recycle used water for drinking and commercial purposes.

At Trinity Theological College, the Principal, the Rev Dr Ngoei Foong Nghian, gave a brief history of the seminary and the participants were taken on a guided tour.

The participants were then divided into two groups – one group went to Bethany Methodist Nursing Home and Chinatown, and the other group visited Chen Su Lan Methodist Children’s Home and Little India.

A dinner was held for the participants and special guests included Bishop Dr and Mrs Robert Solomon, the three Annual Conference Presidents, the Rev Khoo Cheng Hoot (CAC), the Rev James Nagulan (Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference), and his wife, the Rev Wee Boon Hup (Trinity Annual Conference) and his wife, and the Rev Dr John Barrett, Chairman of the World Methodist Council.

After the many days of intense training and dialogue, the participants gathered together. Country by country, they presented their action plan for the next five years. Many felt that they needed to train and build a strong and younger leadership who would be grounded in God’s word to do missions abroad as well as in their own countries.

The participants were reminded of the importance of networking and being connected with one another and also to be a friend of the needy, the marginalised and the oppressed.

Before the event ended and the participants left for home, there was an exchange of country gifts. Participants received little gifts as a gesture of friendship. Corporate gifts were also given to every participant by different countries for love and sisterhood and oneness in the Lord.

Ms Kyung Za Kim expressed her deep appreciation on behalf of all to the leadership of the GC-WSCS in according the warm hospitality and facilitating the event. The Planning Team and the participants left the event “taking with them the experience of the Holy Spirit in this beautiful garden city”.

Dorothy Lim is the President of the Chinese Annual Conference Women’s Society of Christian Service and Laureen Ong is the President of the General Conference WSCS.