To me, being a Methodist is to view the world as our parish. We can do this in three simple ways:
Firstly, as the parish system provided access to churches and Christ for everybody, we can be that sign of Christ’s welcome, work, and ministry in every aspect of life for everyone we know so that others may encounter Christ through us. Personally, I’ve had interesting conversations with some friends who wanted to know more about God.
Secondly, we can extend care to others. Parish priests were responsible for people living within their parish, and they could not choose to solely help those deemed worthy of their time and interest. We can look out and pray for others, regardless of our relationship with them. Being a volunteer has shown me that we need to manifest his love.
Lastly, we are uniquely placed to do God’s work. The Church is universal, yet it is deeply personal to each community. Our parishes may not be defined by geography, but by common interests. In our spheres of influence, do we proclaim his Word?
I draw inspiration from my great-grandfather, Leng Boon Hee, a Methodist layperson who preached in colonial Singapore while selling bread. He recognised that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from God’s mouth. I pray that we may all view the world as our parish, and “go, do thou likewise”.