Worship Seminar and
public talks cancelled, but Aldersgate Service will go on and
will see launch of new book
This book avoids going through
"dry" history: It paints a broad and absorbing picture
for the average reader.
Aldersgate Convention 2003, scheduled to be held from May 21 to
24 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of John Wesley's birth,
will now be held on a reduced scale.
Reason: The travel plans of the speakers from the United States
have been affected because of the SARS outbreak.
The Methodist Church in Singapore has to regretfully call off
the Worship Seminar and the three public talks.
However, the Aldersgate Service and Dedication of the Methodist
Centre will be held as scheduled on May 24 at 7.45 pm.
And to celebrate the occasion as well as the tercentenary of John
Wesley's birth (b. June 17, 1703 in Epworth, England), a new book,
The People Called Methodists, is to be launched during the service,
which will be held at the Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) Auditorium.
The People Called Methodists is
a coffee-table book which all Methodists will want to own and
read. Non-Methodists will be able to appreciate the essential
similarities and some differences that both unite and divide the
The various articles in the book seek to tell the story of The
Methodist Church in Singapore through its men and women, its history
in text and pictures, its structures and the essence of the Wesleyan
It will break new ground in church publications. Methodists, young
and old, will find its articles absorbing and illuminating as
they discover the heritage derived from the biblical vision of
what the Christian and what the Church should be like.
Produced with vibrant colour and sepia photographs, The People
Called Methodists tells the story in five sections, the first
of which is Who we are. This is a brief account of the Methodist
movement and how it was brought to these shores in 1885 by pioneer
missionaries who dared to do great things, which led to MCS having
41 churches and eight preaching points and a membership of 31,000.
This book avoids going through "dry" history and paints
a broad and absorbing picture for the average reader.
As many Methodists may not be very clear about how our Church
is organised in a connectional system, there follows a simple
explanation of How we are structured.
Members may have some understanding of the Local Church Executive
Committee (LCEC), but how it relates to the system of discipline
and accountability should be enough to recognise its inherent
strengths -- and weaknesses. Its underlying motif is the partnership
between the clergy and the laity in building and extending God's
Kingdom on earth, most significantly in overseas outreach in recent
An important area which most Methodists need to know and understand
is What we believe.
Although some might find that this section of the book requires
some effort to understand, having accepted Christ as Lord and
Saviour, the Methodist Christian needs to go more deeply in order
to understand the doctrines, the sources of our Faith, the meaning
of Grace and the Responsibility that is the duty of a follower
of Jesus. For ease of reference, the texts of the Creeds (The
Apostles', Nicene and Social), as well as the Articles of Religion
have been provided in full.
Emphasis is laid on Christian
Discipleship, a methodical life lived day by day. This is
supported by an account of how The Methodist Church in Singapore
has tried to promote this not only through lay training and study
courses, but also through its schools, youth organisations, women's
and seniors ministries, as well as in encouraging the whole Church
to participate actively in a volunteer movement. All this is
encapsulated in the texts of the General Rules of the Methodist
Church and the Social Principles of the MCS which accompany the
Methodist Centre: The view from Barker Road. - Methodist Message
picture by NICHOLAS YAP.
Finally, the fifth section of the book deals with how Methodists
Witness to the world at large: in multi-lingual worship
services characterised by joyful and enthusiastic singing in the
Methodist tradition, in the observance of the sacraments (baptism
and holy communion), and in observing the Christian calendar that
helps to order the formation of our Faith.
These acts of Faith are to be complemented by Christian
social action - for and among those who face personal crises and
hardship - and are characterised by the ministry of the Methodist
Welfare Services and the workers who make this not only possible
but add a further dimension of love and care, whether among elderly
patients, orphans, or school children.
A sizeable 180-page volume, The People Called Methodists cannot
be read like a novel and should take quite a while to digest.
It is best done in small doses by a reader who will, from time
to time, browse with interest among the many and varied articles.
Alternatively, it has enough content to act as a basis for study
by cell or study group members - helping them to mature in their
understanding not only about the Methodist heritage, but also
their responsibilities as 21st century Christians who live in
such challenging times.
Pupils from Methodist Girls' School: One of
the many beautiful photographs used in the book.