The First Diocesan Children Ministry Conference was organised by the Anglican Diocese of Sarawak and Brunei at the St. Faith Auditorium from 25th & 26th August 2018. It is the first conference of its kind held in the history of the Anglican Diocese in conjunction with its 170th Anniversary celebration. Chaired by The Revd. Canon Andrew Shie, the conference had two objectives: to encourage the further development and growth of Children Ministry throughout the diocese, and to affirm, acknowledge and encourage our Children Ministry workers and volunteers who are faithfully serving and caring for our young ones.
During the special Sunday Service, the participants were commissioned en masse by the diocesan Bishop, the Rt. Revd Danald Jute.
A total of three hundred delegates participated in the conference. They came from 30 parishes across the diocese (from Lundu to Limbang and including Brunei). The opening prayer was said by the Asst. Bishop designate, The Revd Nelson Ugas followed by the opening Praise and Worship by ADYC Region 5.
In his address to the conference delegates, Bishop Danald thanked God for His Grace and faithfulness to initiate this historical conference. He said that he was greatly concerned that our members lacked spirituality and not deeply rooted in the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, he is focused on training and especially our young children towards this direction and this conference is timely to encourage and train our Sunday School teachers to share, motivate and improve their Children Ministry to achieve the goal of discipleship among the children. At the conclusion of his address, he launched the Diocese of Kuching version of the bilingual Words of Wisdom booklets (English and Iban). Each participant received a set of the booklets (15).
Among the speakers invited to the conference were Miss Florence Jee from the Holy Trinity Church of Hong Kong but hailed from Sarawak. She spoke on the subject “Discipling Children”. The second speaker was Pastor Betty Tan from St. Andrew’s Church BSB and she spoke on the topic “Reaching and Impacting Children”.
There were four resource centre setting up exhibition booths to support the two days conference, namely
- SuperBook Malaysia to provide resources to empower and equip churches to reach the next generation with exciting Sunday School curriculum to take children into an exciting Bible adventure.
- OneHope to provide children and youth with relevant Gospel messages, believing that God’s Word is sufficient (Romans 6:23), alive (Hebrews 4:12) and powerful enough to radically transform lives (Ephesians 2:8)
- Wawasan Penabur to provide Bahasa resources to Bahasa-speaking churches and give talks, trainings and various initiatives that have a positive impact to the Bahasa-speaking communities.
- PNG (Prepare Next Generation) works with Child Evangelism Fellowship, to provide children’s teaching materials.
Additional booths were also set up by St. Faith’s Children Ministry, Girls’ Bridget (2nd Kuching Company) and St. Thomas’ Cathedral Kuching Sunday School.
After the talks, The Revd Alfred Damu Bulang from St. Columba’s Miri said the grace for the lunch.
Saturday Lunch Time Seminars by the Resources Agencies were provided to the delegates from 1pm to 1.30pm.
In the afternoon, after the Ice breaker, the delegates were divided into small groups to share and discuss about the opportunities and challenges they faced as Sunday School teachers followed by tea break.
The four speakers for the panel discussion with the theme ‘Answering Your Call” were Sister Winnie Anyoi from St. John’s Church Taee, Sister Evelyn Woodford from Good Shepherd’s Church Lutong, Pastor Betty Tan and Miss Florence Jee. They shared about their personal journey in answering God’s calling to serve in the Children Ministry.
The last session of the day was a time for group reflection of the day and the conference adjourned at 18.30pm.
The second day, 26th August 2018, started with ice-breaker followed with some report back from the previous day‘s findings and also the planning forward for the diocesan Children Ministry.
Canon Andy summarised the report back with 5 Ps – Priest, PCC, Program (training), Preparation (curriculum) and Pedagogy. Fr. Alfred further highlighted the need for 2 more ‘Ps”- the Programming and the Planning as Sunday School contexts differ across the diocese, from urban to semi-urban to rural parishes.
Miss Florence Jee talked about the need to be creative in Children Ministry and she shared her formula of ‘ 70% copy and 30% creativity’. SuperBook shared about using technology in the curriculum.
After tea break, a group photo was taken. The Sunday School youth helpers were ministered to by the seniors.
A special Sunday Service and the commissioning for the Sunday School teachers was held from 10.30am onwards with Bp Danald Jute as the Celebrant. The children ministry from St. Faith’s Church led in the praise and worship with tambourine dancers and flags while Miss Florence shared the message based on the diocesan theme of “Reaching Forward”. There was a collect specially prepared for the conference by Revd. Wilston Trin which Canon Andy read as the officiant:
O Lord our God, You who welcomes children into Your kingdom, help us to grow and nurture these children of Yours to be a godly generation who fears and love You. Grant unto us, also a child-like faith whose trust in You is un-wavering; that by having it, we may taste and see Your goodness and glory in this world, and in the world to come. Grant this prayer O Lord, for the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ who reigns together with You and the Holy Spirit. Amen
Tokens of appreciation were given to the speakers, panelist and resource agencies.
Lunch was graciously provided by St. Faith’s Church, Kenyalang and the conference concluded by 1pm on 26th August. To God be the glory.