Report on the 32nd Session 2007
The 32nd Session was held at the Vistana Hotel in Penang from 24th to 27th November 2007. We thank the Lord Almighty for the smooth running of the worship, business and teaching sessions, elections and workshops.
TRAC President delivered his annual Presidential Address which gave an overview of the work of the Conference and the vision for TRAC for the ensuing years.
The three teaching sessions by Bishop Hwa Yung were challenging, inspiring, insightful and thought provoking. He spoke on the Conference theme “The Church and Society.” As spiritual descendants of Abraham, we are blessed by God but we must not forget that we are also called to be a blessing to the nation. To be a blessing to the nation, we ourselves have to strive for exemplary Christ-like living, demonstrating the highest level of holiness and integrity, ridding ourselves of bitterness and extending forgiveness.
The church is responsible for nation building as she is called to be “salt of the earth” and “light of the world.” Nation building is our responsibility and we have to believe that the gospel is the answer to many of the nation’s problems. We have to do our part to help shape her moral and social vision. However, this cannot happen if the church is unengaged, comfortable, middle class, focused on itself and unwilling to pay the cost of commitment.
Bishop Hwa Yung gave suggestions for areas of our involvement for example he stressed that the least we could do was to register and vote. More Christians should be involved in politics, making a stand for justice, the poor and marginalized. We must be involved in social outreach programs like the setting up of centers that care for the differently able people of our community, giving support to Malaysian Care and setting up educational centers for autistic children. We have to encourage all Methodists to be members of small groups for discipling and holy living. Through such small groups lives can be touched and transformed, thus creating empowering communities. He also emphasized that if we want to change the church and country there must be concerted efforts in prayer. It is hoped that the Methodist Prayer Convention would start a prayer movement across the whole nation that would help bring about a powerful revival in our land. The battle is long and hard and even costly but that is the sacrifice we must be willing to make if we long to see a nation governed by justice and integrity.
In line with the conference theme “The Church and Society” two distinguished speakers were invited to give talks on “Current National Issues and our Responses.” They were YB Datuk Dr. Tan Kee Kwong (Member of Parliament) and Dr. K.J. John who is the executive director, Oriental Hearts and Mind Study Institute. Both the speakers were eloquent and informative as they elaborated on current national issues. Both emphasized that the need for fervent prayers for our government and nation. They too reminded our people to register and vote. Dr. K.J. John went on to say that we should form integrity circles of three to pray for integrity of our nation. Besides that, we must actively help to promote meritocracy and encourage careers in teaching especially in the fields of science and technology. We can contribute towards the building of a balanced and wholesome way of life by making a personal pledge against corruption and ensure personal integrity by refusing to offer bribes.
A lively Q & A session followed after the talks were delivered.