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The stained glass windows of CPC's auditorium.

Pastoral Letter 6th June 2021

牧聲 二零二一年六月六日
6/6/2021
by
Rev. Christopher Chan

Last Sunday was a joyous occasion, with our different congregations worshipping together on the 128th anniversary of CPC. Reflecting on the rich blessings that the Lord has endowed upon our church is humbling, and summons up heartfelt gratitude.

The Lord Jesus has also laid down the principle of stewardship: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Lk 12:48b) Therefore, we have two important reasons to strive to build CPC up as a church that is pleasing and glorifying to the Lord:

1. It is the rightful response to His graciousness to us over 128 years, and

2. It fulfills what the Lord is requiring from us as His stewards and redeemed people.

As I shared last Sunday, God’s model for His church, as presented by Paul in Ephesians 4 can be summarized as “unity in diversity, in order to bring his people to full maturity in Christ”. It is easy to just give mental assent to this. “Of course, it is good for our church to be united” you might say, but unless we are committed to “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Eph 4:2-3), our practical unity will remain skin deep, and not go beyond a symbolic gesture at church anniversaries and combined church camps.

Let me suggest a few practical starting points for us all in deepening our unity at CPC”

a. Within each congregation:

i. Intentionally not sticking to our usual small circles when our congregation gathers together, e.g. at morning tea and church lunch. Take the opportunity to get to know others, particularly members of different age groups.

ii. See each other as brothers & sisters in Christ, even if the other persons are not yet friends, or you do not feel a particular affinity to interact with them.

iii. Intentionally express care and concern towards others and deliver practical help where possible and necessary.

b. At the church-wide level:

i. i. to iii. in a. above with members of other congregations

ii. Take concrete steps to get to know a few members from each of the other congregations who have sufficient language(s) in common with you. Take an interest in their congregations, their passions and their ministries. Pray for each other’s ministries.

iii. Where possible, personally, or better still, encourage your small group to, assist in the ministries of other congregations, e.g. child-minding, catering, providing transport etc. for special functions, such as congregational camps and evangelistic functions.

iv. Collaborate in inter-congregational ministries, e.g. joint “O-week” outreach on university campuses; Country Mission; Seniors’ ministry; ESL classes for new migrants etc.

v. Provide opportunities for other congregations to participate in your worship service and other functions, e.g. “spotlights” for other congregations to share about their joys and pains; a few times a year to exchange  WIS teams and/or choirs to lead musical worship etc.

vi. Encourage and learn from each other on making disciples in your own congregation.

Let us not only be hearers of the Lord’s word, but committed implementors as well.

May the Lord continue to bless CPC richly for His own glory.

上個星期日是一個喜樂的日子,我們各會眾在128週年的堂慶中一同敬拜。回想主賜給我們教會豐盛的祝福,讓我們謙卑,並喚起我們作衷心的感謝。

主耶穌已教導了作管家的原則:「因為多給誰,就向誰多取;多託誰,就向誰多要。」(路12:48b) 所以,我們有兩個重要的原因,要竭力把華人長老會建立成一個討主喜悅並榮耀祂的教會:

1. 回應祂對我們超過128年的恩惠。

2. 去實踐主對我們作為祂管家和救贖之民的要求。

正如我上週日分享,保羅在以弗所書第四章中提到,神為教會所設的模式可以總括為「在多元化中合一,為要使祂的子民在基督裏得以成長」。我們在腦海裡認同這原則是容易的。你或許會說:「我們教會能合一當然是好的。」,但除非我們能委身做到「凡事謙虛、溫柔、忍耐,用愛心互相寬容,用和平彼此聯絡,竭力保守聖靈所賜合而為一的心。」(弗4:2-3),我們的合一,實際上只會停留於膚淺,不能超出在教會週年堂慶和教會聯合退修會等場合上做些象徵性的行動罷了。

讓我提出幾個切實可行的起步點,以深化我們在華人長老會的合一:

a. 在個別會眾中:

i. 當我們聚集在一起時,例如在早茶和教會午膳中,有意不粘在我們慣常的小圈子裡,把握這些機會去認識其他人,特別是不同年紀組別的人。

ii. 即使還未和對方成為朋友,或是你未感到有興趣與對方交往,仍须在基督裏視彼此以弟兄姐妹的身份彼此接待。

iii. 下意識地去表達對他人的顧念和關懷,並有需要日七十盡可能提供實際上的幫助。

b. 在教會層面上:

i. 上面a.i.到iii.點實踐於其他會眾肢體身上

ii. 具體地去認識數個有足夠共同語言、並且是其他會眾的弟兄姊妹。關心他們的會眾、熱忱和事奉。為彼此的事工禱告。

iii. 可能的話,個人、或更好的是鼓勵你的小組去協助其他會眾的事工;例如在他們的營會和福音活動等的特別聚會中,提供托兒、餐飲、交通接載等服務。

iv. 會眾之間在事工上把握機滑聯手合作。例如在各大學校園迎新週作聯合外展;城鄉宣教;長者事工;新移民英語班等。

v. 提供機會讓其他會眾參與在自己會眾的敬拜和其他活動上,例如給他們機會作「焦點分享」(“spotlight”),與你的會眾分享他們事工的喜與憂;每年幾次與其他會眾交換詩歌敬拜隊和/或詩班去帶領崇拜等。

vi. 互相鼓勵,彼此學習,在我們自己的會眾中培育門徒。

我們不但要是聆聽主道的人,也要作委身的實踐主道的人。

願主為着祂自己的榮耀,繼續豐豐富富的賜福我們華人長老會。

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