SIGNIFICANT changes have taken place
in Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC) and they present challenges
which need a response.
This was stated by the Rev Wee
Boon Hup, President of TRAC, in his address on the second day
of the 31st Session of the conference on Nov 21, 2006 at Living
Hope Methodist Church.
The session opened on Nov 20 and ended on the evening of Nov 23
with a Closing-cum-Ordination Service.
Wee dealt with a number of issues. The first of these was the
numerical growth of several churches, some of which had the capacity
to "go it alone" and hence become less dependent on
TRAC, thereby weakening the Methodist connexional system. This
may need careful examination.
Following this was the need to develop leadership among the younger
lay and pastoral ministers. The present cohort of leaders have
built up an understanding of the Methodist system which they should
learn and share with each other, while keeping in touch with developments
in each other's churches.
Related to leadership development is a specific need to develop
pastors.The Rev Wee delivering his sermon at the Closing-cum-Ordination
At the 2005 conference, the Rev Wee had raised the issue of developing
a course for Pastors-in-Charge (PICs), a report on which was presented
by the Human Resource Task Force at this year's session. One of
its chief recommendations is that the Pastor Development Programme
should be for all pastors as the pastoral ministry is a team effort,
and requires good team members, some of whose potential to be
PICs might show up in the course of the programme.
Also related to leadership was a view suggesting an end to the
"iron rice bowl" system for pastors, a view the Rev
The ordination of the three Deacons, from left, Ms
Wendy Watson, Ms Lynette Sathiasingam and Mr Christopher Chin.
The challenge faced
by TRAC has come about when PICs or Pastor-Parish Relations and
Staff Committees (PPRSCs) find a pastor unacceptable, although
the Discipline provides that a minister in good standing is entitled
to an appointment.
It may be possible to develop a system whereby alternative avenues
of ministry may be found for them without their being financially
dependent on TRAC. Provision needs to be made for such pastors
to be counselled and given an opportunity to change and continue
"Still," said the Rev Wee, "there may be cases
where it is best that we part company."
"We have not yet fine-tuned our system where we lead such
pastors to exit graciously."
Currently, what are provided for are judicial processes like disciplining
and levelling charges against them.
"Surely we can devise an exit strategy where we do not have
to subject ourselves to acrimony," said the Rev Wee.
Next, he dealt with the question of financing new church buildings
that has increased in the past few years. Four churches are still
in need - Living Hope Methodist Church, Trinity, Agape and Cairnhill.
They are likely to require funding for some years before they
Perhaps, the more affluent Methodists could be addressed to re-align
their perspectives about their wealth, and even make provisions
for Methodists to leave a financial inheritance for the church.
This type of education will take effort and sensitivity.
"A working group will be formed to study the ways in which
this can be publicised and solicited," said the Rev Wee.
At the Closing-cum-Ordination Service on Nov 23, the Rev Wee said
in his sermon that the people of God were called to a ministry
There are three points to remember in the ministry of reconciliation:
It is God's initiative;
reconciled us to Himself; we have not reconciled ourselves to
does not count our sin against us.
In his message entitled "Setting Others Free", he said
it was important to carry the message of reconciliation. "We
need to have the love of God and carry the true message of love."
On the righteousness of God, he said righteousness was not about
being perfect or being faultless. Righteousness was about being
"Righteousness is about being all that God requires a person
to be, and all that that person could never be in himself or herself,"
The sermon over, the Rev Wee then installed the TRAC Vice-President,
Dr Wu Dar Ching, who had been re-elected at the conference session
two days earlier.
This was followed by the ordinations of three Deacons and three
Elders by Bishop Dr Robert Solomon.
Mr Christopher Chin, Ms Lynette Sathiasingam and Ms Wendy Watson
were ordained as Deacons. Each of them was presented with a Bible
at the end of the ordination.
The Bishop next ordained the Rev Barnabas Chong Chien Chih, the
Rev William Sam Kin Leong and the Rev Terence Yeo Ah Sen. They
were also given a Bible each in addition to a stole.
Then came the moment many in the congregation had been waiting
for - the reading of pastors' appointments for 2007.Congregation greets pastors'
appointments with cheers
Many could not contain their joy, and when their pastors' names
were called out they welcomed the announcements with cheers of
"yeah" and "wow". Some even whistled, which
led the Rev Wee to say: "I like your enthusiasm. I hope you
will continue to support your pastors after this evening."
Two new Pastors-in-Charge were appointed. The Rev Edwin Wong was
appointed Pastor-in-Charge of Toa Payoh Methodist Church to replace
the Rev Derrick Lau, who was posted to Kampong Kapor Methodist
Church as Pastor.
The Rev Dianna Khoo was named the Pastor-in-Charge of Trinity
Methodist Church in place of the Rev Philip Lim, who will be on
sabbatical leave from January 2007.
The Rev Melvin Huang was appointed the new District Superintendent
(East), taking over from the Rev Dr Jonathan Seet, who was named
the District Superintendent (West). The Rev Kow Shih Ming was
made the new DS (Central), filling in the Rev Huang's previous