The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) led by Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung hosted the Fifth Asian Methodist Conference & General Assembly of the Asian Methodist Council (AMC), 20-22 September 2018, in Singapore. Opening Service, Plenary Sessions, Worship Services and Closing Service were held at Paya Lebar Methodist Church, Wesley Methodist Church & Short Street Tamil Methodist Church respectively.
The Chairman of AMC, Rev. Dr. Lam Sung Che of the Methodist Church in Hong Kong spoke at the Opening Service at Paya Lebar Methodist Church. Rev. Dr. Lam’s message serves as an exhortation to inspire and remind Asian Christians the duty and role in society which God had appointed. The Opening Service concluded with Holy Communion. We praise God for the common bond of love in Christ; as brothers and sisters from many parts in Asia broke bread and drank of the cup of the new covenant which Jesus Christ has sealed for our salvation and redemption.
Bishop Emeritus Dr John Chew of the Anglican Diocese of Singapore delivered an inspiring keynote address after the Opening Service. He spoke about the challenges and opportunities for the Asian Church, and the shifting of power-base and influence from the West to India-China and onto the Asia Pacific region. A gifted speaker-teacher, Bishop Dr. Chew, points his listeners to the open-ended finale of the Acts of the Apostle in Chapter 28, where the tasks for God’s Kingdom work have yet to be completed! God continues to send forth His people as witnesses; bearing witness to the good news of the gospel. Bishop Dr. Chew exhorts the Asian Church to arise and seize the opportunities at hand - identifying strengths and openings amidst the challenges of our time. Dinner was served at the end of Bishop Emeritus John Chew’s message. The Paya Lebar Methodist generously hosted a sumptuous welcome dinner for AMC delegates and guests.
Speakers for the Plenary Sessions were Bishop Emeritus Dr Robert Solomon of the Methodist Church Singapore and Dr. Roland Chia, Chew Hock Hin Professor of Christian Doctrine at Trinity Theological College in Singapore. Bishop Dr. Robert Solomon’s topic centred on Christian Leaders & Self, an enriching and stimulating message for clergy, a rousing exhortation and reminder about the clergy’s role and duty, and our place in God’s church, His will and purpose. Dr. Roland Chia, a member of the Christian think tank ETHOS, an Institute for Public Christianity, spoke on LGBT issues and the concerns and challenges for the Church and the Christian community in Asia.
The Methodist Church in Cambodia was warmly welcomed to the AMC family. Delegates at AMC General Assembly approved the recommendation by AMC Executive Committee for the newly established Provisional Annual Conference of the Methodist Church in Cambodia led by President Rev. Lun Sophy to join AMC as a member church.
The following were elected as the officers of the new AMC Executive Committee:
Chairman: Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung (Singapore)
Vice-Chairman (Clergy): Bishop Chul Lee (Korea)
Vice-Chairman (Lay): Mr John Ling (Malaysia)
Hon. Secretary: Bishop Rodolfo Juan (Philippines – UMC)
Assistant Secretary: Bishop Subodh Mondal (India)
Hon. Treasurer: President Lam Sung Che (Hong Kong)
Asst Treasurer: Bishop Chen Chien Chung (Taiwan)
At this, the Fifth Asian Methodist Conference & General Assembly of the Asian Methodist Council, the Asian Methodist Council issued a statement on its position on homosexuality.
The AMC’s Position on Homosexuality 21 September 2018
“We consider the practice of homosexuality and same–sex marriage to be incompatible with Christian teachings. However, we do recognise that homosexual persons, like everyone, are individuals of sacred worth. We all need the ministry and guidance of the Church as well as the spiritual and emotional support of a caring fellowship.
In holding firmly to the Bible as the authoritative standard for its faith and practice, we exhort Christians to care for all persons and for one another with the love of Christ our Lord. Our commitment to care for same-sex attracted persons causes our member churches to keep seeking for appropriate and compassionate ways to relate and reach out to them with the life-changing power of our faith, namely the gospel of reconciliation and new life in Jesus Christ.”
The Closing Service for the Fifth Asian Methodist Conference & General Assembly of the Asian Methodist Council (AMC) was held in Short Street Tamil Methodist Church followed by lunch in the Church’s social hall. The Methodist Church in Taiwan will host the next Asian Methodist Conference & General Assembly of Asian Methodist Council (AMC) in 2021.
By Rev. Joshua Khong