Youths in 1 Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength for Christ

Bishop Dr Gordon Wong and the AC Presidents engaging with the youths via several tongue-in-cheek as well as serious questions on culture and activism

Even though most events planned for MCS 135 were shelved or postponed due to COVID-19 safety measures, the committee for 1Heart, Soul, Mind, Strength (1HSMS) was determined to see it happen as it was the landmark event bringing together Methodist youths across the three Annual Conferences to discuss heartfelt issues with the church leadership as well as to praise God as one. 1HSMS also marked the closing of the year-long MCS 135 celebration.

Taking place via Zoom on 10 Dec, 1HSMS opened with two consecutive discussion tracks.

The first discussion involved Bishop Dr Gordon Wong and the Presidents from their respective Annual Conferences responding to questions concerning spirituality, pop culture and societal issues, as well as tackling lighthearted ones such as who their favourite superheroes were.

One of the concerns put forth was the growing secularity amongst youths in the Church.

The Rev Stanley Chua, the newly-minted President of the Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC), encouraged the youths to live out their faith fervently in their homes and daily lives. The Rev Chua emphasised the importance of this as today’s youth will be tomorrow’s parents. By making their Christian faith real at home, they will give later generations a “fighting chance” to stay grounded in Christ.

The second was a symposium facilitated by the Rev Bernard Chao, who has worked with young people as an Assistant Director for TRAC’s Board of Youth Ministry. This symposium saw the young participants sharing their take on challenging questions such as “Have church programmes been prioritized over people?” and “Who is missing from our churches?”

Pastor Ian Wong, a youth pastor with Kum Yan Methodist Church, brought up the importance of “relational capital” between churches and their youths. “If you have very little relational capital and you need to build a relationship on Zoom, it’s hard. It’s easy to maintain and grow something if you have gone a certain distance,” he said. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt physical activities and progammes, Pastor Wong opined that churches which have built up strong relationships with their youths over the years will be able to weather the storm.

The 1HSMS event rounded off with “A Night of Worship” at Kum Yan Methodist Church on 11 Dec. In view of physical attendance limits, the service was also livestreamed. Bishop Dr Gordon Wong closed the event and MCS 135 with a sermon urging Methodist youths to love God with all their hearts, souls and minds, and above all, to love their neighbours as God loves them and to make that the “most important thing” in their lives.

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Jason Woo is the Communications Executive at MCS Comms. / Photos courtesy of the 1HSMS Committee