EMMANUEL Annual Tamil
Conference (ETAC) continues to focus on three goals in the coming
year: a systematic structural renewal, a stronger relationship
with God through discipleship, and a stronger relationship within
its churches in missions and outreach.
Declaring this in his President's Review at the 28th Session of
ETAC, the Rev Dr Vinson Samuel said: "It is my sincere belief
that our churches and Conference can balance ministry around these
three areas and do everything to the best of our abilities.
"We can respond effectively to the needs of a changing world
by being rooted in three ministries. The working theme for the
coming year, 'Strengthened to Serve' reflects their importance."The three ministries are:
Ministry that proclaims the story of salvation and brings fellowship
between believers around the table, who will love and serve the
Ministry that helps with the spiritual formation of people, for
example, discipleship, training and programmes;
and Witness Ministry that reaches beyond the walls of churches
into the community by meeting the needs of individuals, families
and groups. The Rev Dr Samuel
said the church must be prepared to meet the challenges and changes
around it, not by changing biblical principles or compromising
the Gospel, but by changing the methods, structures and strategies.
"Change is essential if churches
and its ministries are to minister effectively. We must hold on
to our principles, and yet find new methods for a changing world.
"Our churches should not
lose focus on the sense of purpose and direction, and should be
aware of what is going on in the real world and how that can impact
us on a day-to-day basis.
"We need to step out as worthwhile individuals adequately
equipped to serve the community."
The Rev Khoo Cheng Hoot, President of the Chinese Annual Conference
(CAC), was the guest speaker at the Opening Service of the Session.
He urged ETAC members to "save yourselves and also save people
who hear you", which was the central theme of his message.
To do this, he said, required "perseverance and watching
over our lives".
"We come to conference, we
come together to grow, to support or extend the Kingdom in a connectional
He said that as far as the Methodist
Church was concerned, if others were saved and church members
themselves were lost, the Methodist Church would not have grown
to what it was today, 300 years after its founding.
And if church members were saved
and others were not, the Methodist Church would not have grown
to be a sizeable church, and continued to grow.
He thanked ETAC members for the
faithful service they have given to the Methodist Church, and
concluded with these words: "May the Tamil people be saved."
The service closed with the Holy
Communion, which was administered by Bishop Dr Robert Solomon
and assisted by The Rev Dr Samuel, the Rev Khoo and the Rev Dr
Isaac Lim, President of Trinity Annual Conference.
The Rev James Nagulan, Pastor
of Pasir Panjang Tamil Methodist Church, making a point on the
second day of the ETAC session. - Methodist Message picture.