our educational mission
BISHOP Dr Robert Solomon referred to the prime importance that The Methodist Church in Singapore has given to our educational mission through our schools.
In order to enhance and strengthen this ministry in our 14 schools with 22,000 students and 1,200 teachers, he outlined three measures that could help.
FIRST, we should consider having a full-time Director of Ministry in Schools (DMS) to meet the increasing challenges and to oversee the Christian ministry in our schools. Besides chapel and Christian education work, there is an increasing need to cater to the counselling needs of students and staff.
If necessary, the DMS could double up as Education Secretary, as other churches have done, thereby helping our mission in the schools to have a clearer focus and leadership.
SECOND, we should ensure that our Christian Ministry Staff (CMS) are well trained in theology and youth ministry. The challenges of ministering among youth makes it necessary that our CMS are well-grounded both in theology as well as in youth ministry competencies.
THIRD, we should strengthen the role of chaplains in our schools. Chaplains have normally been junior pastors, to whom the more experienced passed on their responsibilities. But not all pastors may be suited for ministry as chaplains in their gifts and inclinations, and it is necessary to ensure a good fit between chaplains and the schools. Besides, chaplaincy was considered "extra-curricular".
To rectify this, a proper understanding of its importance needs to be cultivated. Perhaps, the new permanent order of deacons, a step in line with steps taken in the Methodist Churches in Britain and the United States, as well as scriptural principles and teaching will strengthen their role and that of the chaplaincy.
Bishop Dr Solomon also pointed out that it was important for the principals and staff of our schools to appreciate more deeply the nature of the Methodist Church, and our educational mission and ethos.