Connections important for God’s work
– ETAC President
OPPORTUNITIES TO MINISTER TOGETHER help us to learn from one another and extend resources, asserted the Rev James Nagulan, President of Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC), in his President’s Review at the 36th Session of ETAC on Nov 12 at the Tamil Methodist Church.
He was referring to the General Conference (GC) of The Methodist Church in Singapore, which facilitates the cooperation of its three member conferences: ETAC, the Chinese Annual Conference and Trinity Annual Conference.
As an example of God’s work enabled by this spirit of connectionalism, the Rev Nagulan shared that a Chinese friend had asked him for help to counsel a Tamil-speaking brother who was seeking Christ. He said: “This is one of the many reasons why we need inter-conference connections.”
Expanding on this theme, he noted that there are, at present, only a few members representing ETAC in multiple positions in the GC, making it difficult for them to attend meetings regularly and putting the conference at a disadvantage when vital issues are discussed and voted on. He urged more ETAC members to step up to serve faithfully as representatives of the conference within various committees and leadership positions in the GC.
Connectionalism within the conference itself has borne much fruit, as the Rev Nagulan noted with regards to the work of the Board on Missions, particularly in Myanmar. “In the last few years, the Dallah Methodist Church, in Myanmar, has progressed significantly; new gospel centres have been established.” This was the joint work of many local congregations in ETAC, and is to be lauded.
Another commendable programme was the organisation of two seminars by the Executive Board, “Guarding your Marriage” and “Addiction to Pornography”, which drew unexpected crowds and highlighted the “great need to help our people with family-life issues”. Plans are underway to establish a Family-life Ministry Centre at ETAC to address these needs.
The Rev Nagulan also commended the ETAC Women’s Society of Christian Service for being a great support to the conference’s ministries. He said: “The women in our churches continue to provide able leadership in the life of the Church. We thank God for this ministry.”
Raising leaders in the local churches continues to be a major concern for the conference, and the Rev Nagulan pointed out the necessity of nurturing young adults in local congregations, helping them experience the joy of Christian service and grooming them for leadership positions.
He then closed his review by urging conference members to make an “intentional commitment to the decisions that are shared here at this Session”, so that the spirit of connectionalism would enable God’s work in the conference to be carried out smoothly.