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Vicar’s write 16/17 May

posted 17.05.2015

“Father make us one; Jesus make us one; Holy Spirit make us one!” This was the heartfelt prayer and declaration Father Raniero Catalamessa led after a pregnant silence of 5 minutes during the Alpha Leadership Conference 2015.

Alpha Global Week/Leadership Conference 2015 held at the historic Royal Albert Hall, London and Apollo Hammersmith venues was a fruitful time of refreshing learning. I know we were all strengthened spiritually and physically visiting this historic city. Six from St James’ attended: Vincent Quah, Fung Fung, Ting Ai, Tony Soh & Alex Ip (not in picture) and myself.

The theme for Alpha LC 2015 was unity. This came through not only through excellent keynote addresses but in the flesh by the distinguished and diverse preachers like Robert Madu (African American from Trinity Church, Texas), Joyce Meyer, Father Raniero (Preacher to the Papal household for the last 35 years) and Nicky Gumbel.

During an interview of Cardinal Vincent Nichols (Archbishop of Westminster, London - Roman Catholic Church), Nicky invited Abp Justin Welby to join them on stage as they continued to talk about the need for unity. There was an evident humility and trust between the leaders. The huge significance may be lost to some (if you don’t know, good to revisit our own Anglican history) but not the Western brethren; we rose to give the Lord a standing ovation. God is healing the rift and bloodshed England had experienced during the 16th century and all this through the humble efforts of Holy Trinity Church (HTB) Brompton, an Anglican parish that pioneered the Alpha course in 1977; through Alpha 27 million heard the Gospel the world over!

Unity is intrinsically linked to the Gospel! Jesus prayed for us in John 17:21 that the world may know that He is sent by the Father even as his people are united; one in the Father and Son; bound by the love of the Holy Spirit! I came away blessed by the Word and the sight of God’s children in our diverse languages, cultures, geography and social status; yet united by the desire to see the Gospel proclaimed to the ends of the earth!


One startling paradoxical truth on unity and the Gospel came across when we were reminded how ISIS sees us: Christians; believers in Jesus. They have no idea nor interest if you are Coptic, Orthodox, Protestant or Roman Catholic. God has given us unity in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and it is vital we do our utmost to maintain this unity, not create one apart from the Trinity, so the world may know Jesus whom God the Father sent for the salvation of all creation! As we often hear in a wedding service, “what God has joined together let no man put asunder!” Marriage is after all a picture for the Church.

We need each other in the preaching of the Gospel. It was another kairos moment for me to return to the final session and celebration dinner of our Alpha course. We the church family here in St James’ exist to proclaim the glory of God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I like to thank the tireless Alpha Taskforce led by Josephine Postel and her team members: Joel, Jialin, Ai Lee assisted by Mrs. Jenny Fong from the office. There were once again a palpable buzz at dinner conversations followed by tears and joy and gratitude to what the Lord had done for those who encountered Him through the course. All these will not be possible without the united efforts from the teams in the Food Ministry, logistic, dessert, prayer, group discussion, worship, AV and our vergers! Thank you and God refresh you as you have refreshed others!

We look forward to those getting baptized on 12 July and the privilege to follow up others who made decisions to accept Christ. Please continue to pray for those who have heard the Gospel and have this seed implanted. I am confident God in His own time will cause that seed to grow and bring them to faith in Jesus Christ. Our guests are invited to continue to come see and taste that the Lord is good here in St James’. So while Run 1 of Alpha 2015 is over, our role as His faithful witnesses continues till Jesus returns!

Till the next Alpha run starting 29 July, pray for guests you will bring and join us in serving in Alpha. Please approach Josephine or myself. Shalom and have a blessed week ahead.

 

Revd Chua Siang Guan

 
 
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