The Methodist Church in Malaysia
TWO new Annual Conference Presidents in The Methodist Church in Malaysia have been elected with three incumbent Presidents re-elected at their respective 33rd Sessions in various parts of Malaysia.
The Rev Jayaraj Chelliah is the new President of the Tamil Annual Conference (TAC) and the Rev Steward Damat is the new head of the Sarawak Iban Annual Conference (SIAC).
The three Presidents re-elected were the Rev Ong Hwai Teik of Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC), the Rev Dr Su Chii Ann of the Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference (SCAC), and the Rev Boh Che Suan of the Chinese Annual Conference (CAC).
IN ADDITION, the Rev Ling Heu Uh was re-elected on the first ballot as the President of the Sabah Provisional Annual Conference (SPAC) at its 5th Session, which was held in Kota Kinabalu on Nov 7 and 8, 2008.
The Conference received a new pastor, Pastor Su Bao Ling, and the Rev Chin En Phin was ordained as an Elder. With these two additions, the SPAC now has 12 Elders, six Deacons and six Pastors.
THE 33rd Session of the TAC was held in Ipoh from Nov 14 to 17, 2008. The newly-elected President, the Rev Jayaraj, has served in the TAC for more than 25 years. He was ordained an Elder in 1985.
Two new Elders and two new deacons were ordained.
Earlier in the Session, in his address, the outgoing President, the Rev P. Tevaraji, highlighted some of the achievements and goals for the TAC. He reported that there had been some growth in the churches although marginal. Worship services are well attended. The strong ministries are the small groups, prayer cells and outreach services.
Two new churches were established in Ipoh, bringing the total number of local churches to 47 in the TAC.
He noted that the pastors faced many demands in their ministry but they rose to the challenge. However, there was a shortage of pastors, missionaries and fulltime workers. The lay people were also encouraged to be better equipped.
THE REV Steward Damat was elected as the new President of the SIAC in one ballot at the Methodist Iban Centre in Sibu during its Session from Nov 27 to 30, 2008. He has been teaching at the Methodist Theological School (MTS) in Sibu for 15 years.
Bishop Hwa Yung ordained two deacons – the Rev Jenny Anak Bandar and the Rev Idai Anak Lugom.
Although the Rev Jonathan Jelanding has reached the age of retirement, he is still zealous to serve God. He therefore continues his pastoral ministry on a yearly renewable contract.
THE REV Ong Hwai Teik was re-elected President of TRAC on the first ballot at its 33rd Session, which was held in Subang Jaya from Nov 22 to 25, 2008.
Earlier, in his Presidential Address, he reviewed some of the developments of the past quadrennium and noted some areas for action.
In the area of missions TRAC churches are involved with migrant workers from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Vietnam, India and Sri Lanka.
A greater emphasis was given to the youth ministry through the Jeremiah School, Youth Leadership Development Programme, Youth Prayer Conferences and outreach mission trips, as well as the on-going programmes of the Methodist Youth Fellowship, the Boys’ Brigade and the Girls’ Brigade.
The Institute for Christian Ministry (ICM), which was launched in 2007 with a full-time director, has begun to formulate crucial training programmes to address the strategic needs of spirituality and leadership in the TRAC.
The Rev Ong highlighted several concerns. One was the longstanding need for more pastors. The other area of concern was the “missing generation” – the Young Adults (YA) Ministry. Churches need to be aware of this “overlooked group” and to facilitate establishment of local YA communities and a network at TRAC level.
The TRAC Executive Board is helping the Persidangan Missi Sengoi (PMS) to review and reform its financial situation to prepare for the day when it becomes a Provisional Annual Conference. The PMS is also breaking some new grounds in reaching families in Cameron Highlands and Simpang Pulai areas, besides their base in Kampar.
A new Deacon, the Rev Yong Wai Yin, was ordained.
THE REV DR Su Chii Ann was re-elected President of the SCAC on the first ballot during its Session, which was held in Sibu from Nov 18 to 21, 2008.
In his Presidential Address, he reported that the SCAC now has 153 pastors for 96 churches, 25 preaching centres and three preaching points.
The SCAC has also sent out 26 long-term and 14 short-term missionaries abroad and two local missionary teachers among the Penans.
In the indigenous ministry 55 Iban longhouses have been adopted.
However, the Rev Dr Su raised some concerns. One was the ratio of pastors to church members. Another was the training of the younger generation of leaders, both pastoral and lay.
Besides the ordination of four elders and three deacons, the Conference also saw the addition of 16 new co-workers to various ministries in the Annual Conference.
AT THE Chinese Annual Conference Session in Malacca, held from Nov 10 to 14, 2008, the Rev Boh Che Suan was re-elected President.
About 600 church members and guests attended the President’s rededication service and pastoral ordination service on the last day of the Session.
The Session received a report that the Kulai Parish of the Southern District was established last year. Bishop Hwa Yung ordained several pastors as Deacons. He also ordained four Elders. – Compiled from reports in Pelita Methodist and Connection, the English publication of The Chinese Methodist Message of the Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference.