Recovering our Methodist doctrine, spirit and discipline

47th Session of the Trinity Annual Conference

Recovering our Methodist doctrine spirit and discipline
(left to right) The 47th TRAC Session was held from 21 to 24 Nov 2022, Ordination

The 47th Session of the Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC) was held at Barker Road Methodist Church from 21 to 24 Nov 2022. This is the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic that the TRAC Session was held fully on-site, with only the Closing Service live-streamed as well.

I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid lest they should exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out….
(Thoughts on Methodism, Works of John Wesley Vol. 13)

Tragically these prophetic words of John Wesley has come to pass in our generation where we have witnessed the decline of Methodism in the UK, the birthplace of Methodism, said Rev Stanley Chua, President of TRAC.

One of the most important factors for this decline is their neglect in holding fast to their Methodist doctrine, spirit and discipline, added Rev Chua in his President’s Address.

Reiterating his three-year theme, “Remember Who We Are: Rediscovering our Methodist Heritage of Spirit, Doctrine and Discipline,” which he first expounded on at last year’s 46th Session, Rev Chua warned that the same fate could happen to The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) if we rested on our laurels. “My greatest concern is that many in our Methodist churches are ignorant of our Methodist history and heritage,” he said.

Drawing practical ideas and solutions that he had received and discerned from participants in his book study earlier this year on the history of Methodism based on Arthur Skevington Wood’s The Burning Heart, Rev Chua highlighted the following proposals:

Rev Stanley
giving the

Recovering our Methodist Spirit

“The greatest threat to Christianity is when we no longer care for lost souls. To exist for the next 100 years, MCS must continue to strive to have the zeal to reach out to lost people,” said Rev Chua.

Rev Chua exhorted all churches to continue to emphasise evangelism and witnessing through teaching its importance as well as pouring more resources and thinking of creative ways to do evangelism and outreach. He suggested three ways to address the challenges that MCS is facing:

  • Empower lay people to become “Lay Pastors”
    It was this vision of empowering ordinary, non-ordained people for God’s mission that was at the heart and spirit of the Wesleyan revival and success. Despite concerted efforts by the Board of Ministry (BOM) to organise an annual Vocational Conversation seminar and produce a video on pastoral ministry, as well as the commitment by all churches to have at least one sermon a year on pastoral ministry, it would still not be enough. Rev Chua shared that in 10 years’ time (assuming there are no new pastors joining TRAC and retired pastors are not seeking re-engagement) there would be a shortage of pastors, with only 44 pastors serving the 21 TRAC churches.To overcome this, Rev Chua urged the Conference to reconsider the spirit of empowering and appointing some of the lay people to become “Lay Pastors”, starting with our pool of lay ministry staff and lay leaders in the 21 TRAC churches.

He recognised that there may be concerns and challenges in proceeding on this route and proposed that the BOM take the lead in establishing a task force to seriously look into this proposal and to give a report by the next Annual Conference.

  • Recover and apply the spirit of innovation and adaptation of the early Methodists
    Rev Chua proposed the creation of the “Wesley Sandbox”, a safe space for our youths and young adults to explore, experiment and develop their own worship ministries, programmes and events. He recommended that local churches set up a task force to (a) appraise their own local church situation and (b) work out principles and guidelines for this project.
  • Recover the capital “S”
    Rev Chua exhorted churches to be open to the work of the Holy Spirit by creating opportunities for people to encounter God through the Holy Spirit in our worship services and small group meetings. He highlighted that recovering the spirit of the early Methodists involved being open to the work of the Holy Spirit in the everyday lives of our congregation. That “experience” was the missing element that Wesley rediscovered in Christianity. “We cannot explain the explosive growth of the Wesleyan revival if we fail to understand the importance of the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of individuals,” he said.


Recovering our Methodist doctrine spirit and discipline2
(left to right ) BE Dr Wee Boon Hup preaching at the Closing Service, Holy Communion at Closing Service

Recovering our Methodist Doctrine
With regard to recovering our Methodist doctrine, Rev Chua highlighted the Protestant Reformation which recovered the doctrine of justification/salvation by grace. In the Wesleyan revival, the doctrine of sanctification (living a life of holiness) was recovered. All the doctrines that John Wesley taught and emphasised are not new doctrines. They are the basic foundations of our Christian faith found in historic Christianity.

Rev Chua proposed the redesign of our membership course by modelling it after the Alpha course so that we can teach our Methodist doctrine, spirit and discipline to succeeding generations. The course should include a “Holy Spirit” weekend to facilitate our people to have their own “Aldersgate experience”.

Recovering our Methodist Discipline
Rev Chua highlighted John Wesley’s passion in creating discipleship systems that provided accountability. Many believed that the lasting success of Wesley’s growing movement was due to his emphasis on both evangelism and discipleship, in particular discipleship. As George Whitefield commented, Wesley not only sought to win converts, he was also passionate about making radical disciples of Christ by creating discipleship systems through a disciplined system called bands and classes.

Rev Chua proposed recovering and practising “The General Rules of the Methodist Church” found in the Book of Discipline Para 71. This would ensure that all small groups are aligned to the original intention of the class meetings where members covenant to hold each other accountable for their discipleship. He also urged all churches to seriously consider making small group participation a requirement for church membership.

Other highlights
With TRAC President spelling out what was in his heart, pastors and lay delegates proceeded to discuss the proposals as well as issues their churches were facing. The District Superintendents, TRAC Boards and General Conference Councils also presented their yearly reports to Conference members.

The 47th Session also saw the re-election of Dr Cheah-Foo Fung Fong as TRAC Vice-President for another two years.

In his Bishop’s Update, Bishop Dr Gordon Wong updated delegates on the One MCS initiative. Rather than working on structural changes to bring the three Conferences together, he said the Presidents and General Conference have agreed to focus on working and fellowshipping across the three Conferences. Fellowship sessions between lay leaders of all three Conferences have taken place last year and will continue to do so.

Similar initiatives for pastors of the three Conferences have also been planned. These include the Joint MCS Pastors Retreat in April 2023, Combined Pastors Fellowship in May 2023 and Combined Lent Services in 2024.

Rev Chua emphasised the need to hold fast to Methodist doctrine, spirit and discipline
Rev Chua emphasised the need to hold fast to Methodist doctrine, spirit and discipline

TRAC membership crosses 30,000 for the first time
The Statistician’s Report revealed some good news. Total membership across the 21 TRAC churches grew by 2.7 per cent or 789 persons to 30,057 in 2022, crossing the 30,000 mark for the first time. But the report also highlighted the greying population in our churches. The number of members above 60 years of age has risen to 11,360 persons in 2022, representing 37.8 per cent of total TRAC membership.

The 47th Session ended with the Closing Service, during which Bishop Dr Gordon Wong presided over the ordination of the following:

Diaconal Ministers

  • Ms Chua Chiew Poh
  • Mr Vincent Lim


  • Ps Gilbert Lok
  • Ps Clement Ong


  • Rev Joey Chen
  • Rev Alex Chew
  • Rev Benjamin Lau
  • Rev Allan Lee

The appointments of Pastors and District Superintendents were also read out and will take effect from 1 Jan 2023.

Saul – The Man who had it but lost it
In his sermon at the Closing Service, TRAC President Rev Stanley Chua preached on “Saul – The Man Who Had It but Lost It” (1 Samuel 15:17-23).

Drawing lessons from Saul’s life and ministry, Rev Chua reminded delegates and especially the ordinands to pay heed to how we handle power and success; our accountability to others, especially those whom God has placed over our lives; and most important of all, how well we handle our relationship with God, particularly in the area of obeying God’s Word.

Newly ordained Diaconal Ministers, Deacons and Elders
Newly ordained Diaconal Ministers, Deacons and Elders

Appointments in District One
w.e.f. 1 Jan 2023
District Superintendent: Rev. Dr Jonathan Seet



Barker Road MC

Pastor-in-Charge Rev. Wendy Watson
Pastor Rev. Dr Daniel Koh
Pastor Rev. Lai Kai Ming
Pastor Rev. Benjamin Fong
Assistant Pastor Rev. Gilbert Lok
Bedok MC Pastor-in-Charge Rev. Dr Aaron Tay
Pastor Rev. Timothy Yong

Christ MC

Pastor-in-Charge Rev. Dr Edwin Wong
Pastor Rev. Barnabas Chong
Pastor Rev. Daniel C Tan
Pastor Rev. Chan Siew Chye
Christalite M Chapel Pastor-in-Charge Rev. Shaun Chong
Assistant Pastor Rev. Tay Li Ping
Kampong Kapor MC Pastor-in-Charge Rev. Tay Kay Leong
Pastor Rev. Anthony Phua

Appointments in District Two
w.e.f. 1 Jan 2023
District Superintendent: Rev. Reuben Ng


Ang Mo Kio MC

Pastor-in-Charge Rev. Anthony Lee
Pastor Rev. Lee Yam Kai
Assistant Pastor Rev. Emanuel Goh

Living Hope MC

Pastor-in-Charge Rev. Joel Yang
Pastor Rev. Gabriel Liew
Pastor Rev. Joshua Loo
Methodist Church of the Incarnation Pastor-in-Charge Rev. Edmund Koh
Pastor Rev. Allan Lee

Paya Lebar MC

Pastor-in-Charge Rev. Dr Kow Shih Ming
Pastor Rev. Vincent Goh
Pastor Rev. Jacob Lim
Pastor Rev. Joey Chen

Pentecost MC

Pastor-in-Charge Rev. Dr Jonathan Seet
Pastor Rev. Collin See
Assistant Pastor Pastor Isaac Tan

Trinity MC

Pastor-in-Charge Rev. Alvin Chan
Pastor Rev. Sng Chong Hui
Pastor Rev. Byron Teo

Appointments in District Three
w.e.f. 1 Jan 2023
District Superintendent: Rev. Alvin Chan

Agape MC Pastor-in-Charge Rev. Dr Chiu Ming Li
Pastor Rev. Jason Phua
Cairnhill MC Pastor-in-Charge Rev. Dr William Sam
Pastor Rev. Ling Kin Yew

Fairfield MC

Pastor-in-Charge Rev. Wendy Tay
Pastor Rev. Ivan Tan
Assistant Pastor Ps. Reginald Chan

Toa Payoh MC

Pastor-in-Charge Rev. Benjamin Lee
Pastor Rev. Ming Feong Ching
Pastor Rev. Poh Zhi-Hui




Wesley MC

Pastor-in-Charge Rev. Raymond Fong
Pastor Rev. Lim Jen Huat
Pastor Rev. Lilian Ang
Pastor Rev. Chia Chin Nam
Pastor Rev. Gladwin Lee
Pastor Rev. Adrian Ng
Pastor Rev. David Ho Seng Hian
Pastor Rev. Benjamin Lau
Assistant Pastor Rev. Clement Ong

Appointments in District Four
w.e.f. 1 Jan 2023
District Superintendent: Rev. Dr Edwin Wong

Aldersgate MC Pastor-in-Charge Rev. Dr Lynette Sathiasingam
Assistant Pastor Rev. Jeremy Yap
Covenant Community MC Pastor-in-Charge Rev. David Gwee
Pastor Rev. Daniel Terence Yeo
Pastor Rev. David Ho Gim Pin


Faith MC

Pastor-in-Charge Rev. Reuben Ng
Pastor Rev. John Benedict Foo
Pastor Rev. Peter Koh
Pastor Rev. Eddie Ho
Assistant Pastor Rev. Chan Mei Ming
Holland Village MC Pastor-in-Charge Rev. Jeremy Ong
Pastor Rev. Loretta Lim
Living Waters MC Pastor-in-Charge Rev. Khoo Kay Huat
Pastor Rev. Alex Chew

TRAC Special Appointments
w.e.f. 1 Jan 2023

Director, Truthmin Rev. Byron Teo
Assistant Directors, Youth Ministry Rev. Benjamin Fong
Rev. Timothy Yong (Schools)
Rev. Allan Lee (Trackers)
Director of Young Adults Ministry Rev. Adrian Ng
Director, Lay Equipping and Development Institute (LEAD) Rev. Ming Feong Ching
Assistant Director, Lay Equipping and Development Institute (LEAD) Rev. Ling Kin Yew
Director, Seniors’ Ministry Rev. Joshua Loo
TRAC Crisis Relief Coordinator Rev. Jason Phua
TRAC Chaplains to TRAC TTC Students Rev. Dr Chiang Ming Shun
Rev. Dr Bernard Chao
Rev. Wendy Tay
Lecturer, Trinity Theological College Rev. Dr Chiang Ming Shun
Rev. Dr Bernard Chao
On Sabbatical Leave Rev. Kenneth Huang
Study Leave Rev. Ian Lee
Coordinator Peranakan/Indonesian Ministry Rev. Christopher Chin

Appointments Made Through the Bishop’s Office

Director, Ministry in Schools Rev. Dr Aaron Tay
Associate Directors Ministry in Schools Rev. Dr William Sam
Rev. Poh Zhi Hui

(Methodist Missions Society 2023)

Executive Director Rev. Derrick Lau
Missionary Pastor (East Asia) Rev. Tan Cheok Kian
Missionary Pastor (Thailand) Rev. Clarence Lee
Missionary Diaconal Minister (Thailand) Rev. Vincent Lim
Missionary Pastor (Vietnam) Rev. Leslie Lim
Missionary Pastor (Timor-Leste) Rev. See Swee Fang
Missionary Diaconal Minister (Timor-Leste) Rev. Teresa Wilborn

Alvin Tay is the Managing Editor of Methodist Message. / Photos by Daniel Lie