DN	:	PP114764/1/2007	                   Strictly	for	Private	Circulation	                             Sept	-	Dec	2007

                                     EXTENDED FAMILY
                                       AND SINGLES
                                         he notion of FAMILY has been           grandparents, too, have to squeeze into
                                         drastically altered over the years.    the children’s room. Obviously, those
                                         It is very sad to know that the        who can not and would not contribute
                                   conventional and biblical concept of         to the welfare and betterment of the
                                   Family is also skewed by some ‘modern’       ‘Immediate’ family will have to stay out.
                                   people. So before I continue, it is better   They are often treated as ‘friends’ or
                                   for me to state my position. I firmly        distant relatives. Single people are also
                                   believe in the conventional and biblical     treated as such perhaps unconsciously in

                                   view of FAMILY i.e. the composition of       many families. This is the alleged-norm

                                   the husband, a man, and his wife, a          and everybody just follows suit. This has

    INSIDE                         woman, their children and their extended
                                   members. (Wait! I know some of you will
                                   jump into the ‘attacking’ mode.)
                                                                                also sometimes created a lot of tension
                                                                                and quarrels in the home. The ‘I’ and
                                                                                ‘Mine’ business shows its “ugly face”.

                                   In the Old Testament days, a Family in       In this modern world, our minds are
                                   the days of Abraham, Moses, David            conditioned to think very much in
                                   and many others also included their          monetary terms. If anyone cannot
                                   parents, their many wives (only one is       contribute or benefit from the Family
                                   acceptable today) and the slaves of the      financially, he/she is not considered as
            Synod 2007             household. Even in New Testament days,       one of the Extended Family except those
            • Page 5-7 •           the Family was very similar to that of the   born of their own flesh. Fortunately, we
                                   Old Testament. But in today’s world,         do have the Bible with us. It has mapped
                                   we call this group - our parents, uncles,    out a Biblical concept of Family i.e.
                                   aunties, brothers and sisters-in-laws,       all those who live under the same roof
                                   cousins, God parents and God children,       are one Family. Of course, this will not
                                   and sometimes friends and maids as           include those who are renting your house
                                   EXTENDED FAMILY. What is their role in       or rooms, unless you personally wish for
    Worship & Musicians Workshop   our Family today?                            it. In this case, are we able to reconsider
            • Page 15 •                                                         and re-visit this Biblical model? We will
                                   Too often, there is no role for the so       need to readjust our thinking and minds
                                   called Extended Family unless and until      to accommodate the idea of Family
                                   they are needed by the immediate family,     which includes everyone living under the
                                   to look after their young ones or provide    same roof as one Family, and to treat
                                   financial assistance etc. Our modern         them as members of our family. Can
                                   world has designed houses as small as        we treat our grannies, aunties, uncles,
                                   Small Office Home Office (SOHO) units        in-laws and maids as our members of
      Persidangan Belia Anglikan
                                   that can fit not more than 4 to 5 people.    our Family? This is a tall order, I know. If
             • Page 15 •
                                   (This is circumstantial especially in the    we start now, I believe the present ‘love-
                                   cities) There is no space for a maid,        scarce’ world will be very different. This
                                   and sometimes the dog has to share           is our Christmas message to the whole
                                   the room with the children. Sometimes
                                                                                                            cont’d on page 2
Editorial              s Malaysia develops in its scope and
                       economy, one of the features in our
                       communities that seem to be grow-
                                                                  money can buy but long for affirmation and compas-
                                                                  sion from those they love.

               ing in number are Homes for the elderly            As we close this year thinking of “Transformation of
               and the house bound. While this serves a           the Family” let us remember our ancestors and all who
               purpose, as Christians we need to be mind-         have made possible our development and success in
               ful of our duty and responsibility toward the      life. We want to thank Rev. Luke Ooi for his thoughts
               elderly and members of the extended family.        on this theme.
               We should regard it as a privilege to care
               for loved ones who have brought us up and          Our theme for 2008 is ‘Transformation of Congrega-
               nurtured us. So often they are provided for        tions in Christ’ The Anglican Messenger will be focus-
               physically but their emotional needs for care      ing an the following during the year “Transformation
               and time spent with them, are overlooked.          through the Word”, Transformation through Worship”
                                                                  and “Transformation through Witness”. Please send us
               The story of Joseph who not only provided          your reports on activities and your thoughts on these
               for his very large extended family during          themes during the year.
               the famine is a shining example of love, for-
               giveness and acknowledgement that all our          Wishing you a Joyous and peaceful Christmas and
               blessings are from God and He wants us to          God’s richest blessing for the New Year.
               share them with others.
                                                                  The Editorial Board
               Let us not fail to teach children the impor-
               tance of love and respect for the elderly and
               let us teach them to be sensitive to their
               needs. Christmas is a wonderful time to ex-           cont’d from page 1
               press our gratitude and appreciation of all           world that Christ came to restore our Families to the Biblical
               members of the family, especially the single,         model. This concept is by no way exhaustive in terms of its
               childless lonely persons who may have what            membership and limits.

                                                                     I am trying to re-introduce the concept of the long lost Biblical
                                                                     model of Family which is the Immediate Family + Extended
                                                                     Family, purely as food for thought and hopefully, to be
                                                                     practiced by us. I am convinced and sure that some of us are
                                                                     already doing so happily. If you are doing so, I wish to say

               Vacancy Available
                                                                     “well done” and please keep up the good work. If you are
                                                                     not, will you try?

                                                                     May the Good Lord continue to amaze us with His wonderful
                                                                     and exciting vision and mission! Amen.
            Are you between the ages of 18 and 35?
          A committed Christian and Church member?                                                            Rt Rev Ng Moon Hing
        Do you want to spend from 8 months to a year,
   living, learning, working, making friends and helping in

                                                                       Editorial Board
   Church-based placement in another country and culture?
       Are you friendly, adaptable, willing to share your
        Christian experience and to learn from others?

                Then this programme is for you!
                                                                    Adviser :        The Rt Rev Ng Moon Hing
   Participants accepted for this programme are known as            Members :        Gloriosa Rajendran (Editor), Rev Dr Andrew
                   St. Chad’s Volunteers.                                              Cheah, James Chee, Prakash Mukherjee
       Full board and lodging and a small subsistence               The theme for next year is “Transformation of Congregations
                                                                    in Christ”. The next issue (January – April 2008) will focus on
                                                                    “Transformation of Congregations through the Word”.
        (for personal expenses beyond the placement)
                                                                    The Editorial Board welcomes articles and photographs that focus
                         are provided
                                                                    on this theme for the coming issue. Please submit your articles
                                                                    to the Editor, Anglican Messenger, Diocesan Office or e-mail to
                        INTERESTED                                  diocese@streamyx.com by 1 February 2008.
           Please call the Diocese for application
                Tel: 03-20312728/20313213                           The Synod of the Diocese of West Malaysia (Anglican Church)
                                                                          No. 16 Jalan Pudu Lama, 50200 Kuala Lumpur,
                      Fax: 03-20313225
                                                                                  Tel : 03-2031 2728, 2031 3213
              e-mail: anglican @ streamyx.com
                                     SIX MONTH OLD BISHOP
                           have been asked many                 bers trying to ‘dig’ information from me especially
                           times the question: “What            on the matter of transfers and others. Now I have
                           is it like to be a Bishop?”          found it difficult to ask clergy friends to give me their
                       Frankly speaking, it is a very           opinions on certain issues. Many a time they have
                       challenging and a difficult of-          interpreted it as my decision.
                       fice to be in. I am no longer
                       seen as a parish priest and              I am not complaining but just sharing with you, my
                       am no longer performing my               friends, who are praying for me always. I wish to
                       duty as one either. I am now             thank you for your faithful support. I believe that I am
                       elevated to a position as Man-           not the only one feeling strange. My family is feeling
                       ager-Leader. Some people do              the same way. We are suddenly put in the limelight
not like the title Manager and they prefer Leader.              and do not know how to react and how we should
                                                                adapt. My wife especially, is suddenly ushered into
My role has changed significantly now. I do not meet            an unknown arena. Many people have told her that
with people as before. I have been accorded special             she must adopt certain customs and styles of dress.
privileges which I am not very comfortable with. I              She, like me, feels very strange to put on something
think I can adjust to it gradually but I hope that I will       that is not her normal self. I am sure my children feel
not get too used to it and not be able to return to my          the same tension. It may be a good tension but we
‘normal’ lifestyle. Everywhere I go, I have been giv-           all need time and wisdom to adapt ourselves.
en a priority seat and prominence. I sincerely hope
that we will not over do it. I am a simple person and           My greatest desire is not to put too much emphasis
believe in a simple lifestyle. Many people have ad-             on custom or etiquette but to focus on doing God’s
vised me to flow with the position I am in today for            Will for my life and the Diocese. I am praying to
they believe that I will be meeting and mingling with           the Lord of Harvest for more people to pastor the
many top class and upper strata people of society.              churches and plant more churches across the Dio-
Let’s not forget that there are many ordinary people            cese. Now that I have made available the position of
as well.                                                        Lay Pastors in the Diocese, I hope that you will seri-
                                                                ously pray and challenge yourselves to serve God in
Many of my clergy friends have taken some steps                 this capacity. It is not good to plant more churches
back with reservations when they talk or even relate            while there is no one coming forth to offer them-
with me. I thank them for the honour and respect                selves as workers of God. We are seriously looking
for me but it is not necessary for them to distance             for people who wish to serve God as Lay Pastors
themselves. I guess being a Bishop is just part and             and who are already long standing, active and well
parcel of life and it comes with the position. I am             recognized members in their churches.
now very careful when I say anything because many
of the things I say is taken as ‘gospel’ truth. This has        Wishing you a very Blessed Christmas and a Happy
initially stifled me as I am a ‘talkative’ person. I have       New Year!
also found many clergy friends and church mem-                                               Rt. Rev. Ng Moon Hing

                                         NEW WORDS COINED
   have been approached by many of our members                  sary). Therefore, having given much thought to this,
   previously and recently concerning the proper                I have decided to coin new words for this sole pur-
   address for the wife of a pastor and now wife of             pose i.e. to reduce misunderstanding. I believe this
a bishop. In Chinese, there are proper words and                will not go down so well initially but after some time
addresses for pastor’s wife and bishop’s wife. There            I hope it will be accepted.
is none in English. It is wrong to call my wife Mrs.
Ng Moon Hing or Mrs. Bishop. It is so easily mis-               A pastor’s wife will be called PASFE (pronounce as
taken that Ng Moon Hing is a female. She should be              pas-fee). So she should be known as Pasfe Siew Lan.
called by her own name Siew Lan or Mrs. Ng. We,
Malaysians, always want to accord the person with               A bishop’s wife may be called Bisfe (pronounce as
proper titles (which I personally think is not neces-           bis-fee). So she should be known as Bisfe Siew Lan.

                  ThE MErDEkA STATEMENT
             n commemoration of Malaysia’s 50th anniversary of Independence, the Merdeka Statement was
             officially launched on 2 August 2007 bearing the title “Towards 2020 – Working Together for a
             more united nation, competitive, innovative and prosperous Malaysia”. Formulated in consultation
          with 42 organisations representing Malaysians from different ethnic, religious, vocational and
          academic backgrounds, the timely document sets out a set of nation-building principles and basic
          beliefs which can constitute a philosophy to guide Malaysia for the next 50 years.

                  Following is the statement:

Adopting the new Malaysian Agenda                        STRATEGIC THRUST 1:
                                                         Strengthening National Unity
Formulated by a wide cross section of the Malaysian
society, the forward looking Merdeka Statement           IN THE struggles towards forging a national identity, great I efforts have
is a balanced and comprehensive document that            been taken to strengthen national unity in the country, which must be
sets out the aspirations of Malaysians who want          supported by all, However, recently the state of unity has been fraying at
to contribute positively and constructively to           the edges. Ethnic, linguistic and religious divides have deepened, causing
the process of nation-building. Briefly, the eight       genuine pain and hurt to many in our nation. Such a fragile state of
strategic thrusts are:                                   unity should not have happened after 50 years of nation building. New
                                                         sustained efforts are urgently needed to rebuild our National Unity.
1. Strengthen national unity
   New sustained efforts are urgently needed to          We believe that:
   rebuild the national unity as ethnic, linguistic      1. The current National Unity Advisory Panel, under the Jabatan
   and religious divides have deepened, causing             Perpaduan Negara & Integrasi Nasional, should be made an
   pain and hurt to many in the nation.                     independent National Unity & Integration Commission, empowered to
                                                            review legislation, policies and practices that impede on national unity,
2. Enhance international competitiveness                    investigate complaints of ethnic, linguistic and religious discrimination
   The country must remain engaged with global              both in Government and the private sector; made answerable to
   economy, rapidly and continually adapting                Parliament and chaired by reputable and credible individuals; and
   to maintain competitiveness by adopting                  include a Truth and Reconciliation Committee, which will serve to
   international best practices.                            grapple with key incidents of conflict and hurt in the country’s past,
                                                            which is an important and necessary part of the healing of the national
3. Create an innovation economy                             psyche, in the road towards a peaceful shared future
   An innovation policy should be developed as
   part of existing plans and policies within trade      2. All new policies should be tested against the tenets of the Federal
   and services industries.                                 Constitution and the Rukunegara - no policy formulated should be
                                                            contrary to the spirit of the values contained therein.
4. Redress imbalances
   Imbalances - poverty, intra-ethnic and inter-         3. An independent and transparent National Consultative Council on
   gender income inequalities - need to be                  Vision 2020 should be established immediate!, for representatives
   redressed with newer strategies and more                 from the Government, private sector businesses, academia, media and
   vigorous effort.                                         civil society to discuss progress towards Vision 2020 and beyond.

5. Reinforce the institutions of the Executive,          4. A National Research Institute on Ethnic Relations should be established
   Legislature and Judiciary                                as a centre that co-ordinates in-depth research on Ethnic Relations
   The government needs to further strengthen the           and Culture, compiling stories of inter-ethnic cooperation and mutual
   key institutions and ensure their independence           assistance.
   in reflecting values of good governance.
                                                         5. Public-Private Partnerships to strengthen National Unity should be
6. Reform education                                         launched at all levels and in all sectors.
   Radical change of mindset is needed to bring
   about a paradigm shift in rethinking education,       6. Islam is the religion of the Federation of Malaysia as clearly set out
   in developing a world-class Malaysian education          in the Federal Constitution. The freedom to profess and practice the
   system.                                                  religions of choice as enshrined in the Federal Constitution does not
                                                            threaten this position. The Government has committed itself to the
7. Ensure quality of life                                   principles of freedom, protection of minorities and universal values,
   The government needs to ensure the people’s              values of which must be continuously and relentlessly upheld for the
   quality of life can be improved through                  sake of all Malaysians.
   sustainable development initiatives.
                                                         7. Any extremism in the form and shape of ethnicity, religion and gender
8. Improve governance, fight corruption                     should not be propagated or tolerated at any level.
   The principles of transparency, integrity, account-
   ability and responsibility must be strictly upheld    WE BELIEVE THAT THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION AS SUPREME LAW OF
   and enforced in all sectors of society.               THE LAND IS THE PRIMARY REFERENCE POINT FOR STRENGTHENING
                                                         NATIONAL UNITY, AND THAT ALL NATIONAL POLICIES SHOULD BE
                                                         TESTED AGAINST ITS CENTRAL TENETS.

                                                                                       Source : Berita CCM – July-September 2007

                          SYNOD 2007 ORGANISED BY
                      ST MARK’S CHURCH, BUTTERWORTH
                            AUGUST 23 - 25, 2007

Praise The Lord

      or the glory of God and as part
      of the Parish 110th anniversary,
      the Parochial Church Council
decided to organize the 2007
Diocesan Synod. The first organizing
committee meeting chaired by Rev.
Canon Fr. Edward M. John was
held on 3 September 2006, where
sub committees were formed, to
look into the various areas and
to mobilize every member of the
Church. From the Sunday after the
2006 Synod, when the Church was
informed that St. Mark’s Church,
had been given the honour to
organize the 2007 Synod, the whole
Church was excited. Members just
came forward offering themselves
to serve in any way. Regular and
special prayer meetings were held
while the Church was encouraged


 to pray for the success of the Synod and for the           As one of the members’ commented, ‘It was so
 Bishop.                                                    nice to see so many clergy singing filled with joy,
                                                            which was clearly seen, on their faces’. This is clear
 The opening service was held at St. Mark’s Church,         in the photos taken. As for members of St. Mark’s
 Butterworth. Delegates started coming in from the          Church, this was our first experience having so
 22 nd. . Breakfast, lunch and tea were provided by         many clergy in our church. This is the first time a
 the Church for those who had come early. It was            Diocesan Synod was being held in Butterworth.
 like a Carnival. The Bishop, when he arrived took
 time to greet all those who were involved in the           It was also an honour to have our retired bishops,
 registration and physical arrangements. It was not         Bishop Tan Sri Dr. Lim Cheng Ean and Bishop
 difficult for him to differentiate St. Mark’s church       Ponniah Moses with us. The Seminary Theology
 members from the delegates, because the church             Malaysia’s principal also joined us in the opening
 had made special Synod T – shirts to commemorate           service and the synod as an observer.
 this very special event.
                                                            We had the privilege of hearing the Rt. Rev. Ng
 The Church service started on time. The church             Moon Hing, the newly elected Bishop bring the
 was beautifully decorated by the Ladies Fellowship         word of God to us. The congregation had their
 members of the Church. The church was full; the            ears tuned to the sermon, knowing that this was
 Tadika classrooms were used to accommodate                 his maiden sermon as the Bishop. Members were
 the additional congregation. The Praise and                keen to know what his visions are for the Diocese.
 Thanksgiving were led by the Church Musician’s             His message was very clear both in his sermon and
 Fellowship. The Parish Victory Dance Fellowship            in his presidential address, which he presented at
 members danced gracefully enriching the worship.           the synod meeting held at the Pearl View Hotel,
 One could literally feel the spirit of God smiling         Prai. His focus is on Mission & Evangelism. He
 with joy at the congregation during the worship.           emphasised on his vision for the Diocese of West
                                                            Malaysia for the next 30 years. The Bishop quoted
                                                            a text from Proverbs 29:18 – WHEN THERE IS


    NO VISION, THE PEOPLE PERISH.... He has great
    visions for the diocese and his desire is to create
    a brand name for itself. The Bishop’s vision is to                                    THY KINGDOM COME
    work together with the clergy and laity calling them
    ‘comrades’ and partners respectively. This was very
                                                                                               Thy kingdom come, O Jesus,
                                                                                                Make this our prayer today.
    It is his prayer to see the Anglican Churches shine
    forth for God in the following areas:-
                                                                                                That all thy people gathered
                                                                                                 May honour You and pray
    • Increase in Dioceses
    • The name ‘Anglican’ becoming a household name                                           We pray for our faith growing,
    • Strong in mission, care, biblical teaching, dynamic                                      We pray your Word will feed,
      and lively youths, creative ladies, jovial men and                          _________________________________________
                                                                                               Our fainting souls sustaining
      untiring golden circle.
    • A joint clergy-laity led church                                                               Your Spirit us to lead
    • All leaders to be true servants of Jesus Christ                                      May this Your church now gathered,
    • Professional and Specialist clergy and lay pastors                                            Allow You to inspire,
    • Christian University and Schools
                                                                                            Their hearts and minds so tethered
    The following church workers received their long                              _________________________________________________________
                                                                                                 To Your enduring power
    service awards for serving in the Diocese – Rev.
    Canon Charles Fraser, Rev. David Devapitchai, Dss.                                     May this Your church now gathered
    Ruth Ong, Dss Margaret Chen and Rev. Christopher                                             Use all our skills and gifts
    Tan Ah Soon. The Rev. Canon Fred David was                                                To reach out and touch others
    licensed as Bishop’s Chaplain during the opening                                              In darkness drifting still.
    service. A book written by Ven. Canon Dr. Batumalai                           _________________________________________
    titled ‘A Bicentenary History of the Anglican Church                                       Thy kingdom come, O Jesus,
    of the Diocese of West Malaysia’ was also launched
    by the Bishop at the service.                                                              Grant us your heavenly grace,
    The delegates were treated to a sumptuous dinner
                                                                                                  That faithfully restoring,
    at a Chinese restaurant in Perai after the opening                                        Your Name on earth be raised.
    service. This dinner was hosted by the Church.                                             Thy Kingdom come O Jesus.
    The Synod meeting was held in Pearl View Hotel,                                           Your prayer once, now ‘tis ours
    Prai with a total of 63 Clergy and 175 delegates                                           May we your people gathered
    attending. The Synod ended on the 25th just before                                      Your kingdom spread with power.
    lunch. Delegates left with great excitement and
                                                                                                     (sung to the tune of
    As for the Church, it was a time of celebration,                              _________________________________________
                                                                                          “The Church’s One Foundation”)
    organising and hosting the synod. The total cost
    of hosting the Synod was RM61,095.64. From                                              This song was specially composed
    the registration fees and donations we received                               _________________________________________
    RM49,159.00. The balance of RM11,936.64 was                                               by Mrs Glo Rajendran
    absorbed/subsidised by the Church for the glory of                                  for the recent Synod held in Butterworth).
    God.                                                                          _________________________________________________________
    The Church held a special thanksgiving service on 16
    September 2007. The leaders of all the sub committees
    were invited to say prayers of thanksgiving for the                           _________________________________________
    success of the 2007 Diocese of West Malaysia Synod.
    The Church thanked the members for their untiring
    effort to make the Synod a success by organizing a
    barbeque dinner after the thanksgiving service.
    It is our prayer that our Bishop, the clergy and
    members working together will realise the vision of
    our Bishop for the Diocese, and it will materialize
    for the glory of God.                                                                     Diocese of Lichfield representative present
    Lastly, on behalf of the members of St. Mark’s                                                   for enthronement of Bishop
    Church, Butterworth, we thank God for his
                                                                                        In the article on the enthronement of the new Bishop
    omnipotent presence in this year’s Synod 2007.                                      of the Diocese of West Malaysia carried in the May-
    ‘TOGETHER WE SERVE’                                                                 August 2007 issue of the Anglican Messenger, we wish
                                                                                        to point out that among the attendees at the event was
                                                             Prepared by:
                                                                                        the Rev David Bentley, retired Bishop of Gloucester who
                                                            Mrs Joy Russell             was representing the Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill, Bishop
                                                     Parish Hon. Secretary              of Lichfield.

    Synod Group Photo

                    Journey of love and loss
                                               By Karilee Hayden

                                                                often work, travel and vacations have to adjust to
                                                                accommodate new needs.

                                                                Though it might not be feasible (or even best) for all
                                                                families to bring parents into their homes, it is our God-
                                                                given responsibility to see that they are well cared for
                                                                and protected. Caring for aging parents costs money.
                                                                It requires a commitment of time and energy, and it

       e simply stopped breathing. As I held his hand,          infringes upon freedom and schedules. The emotional
       this wonderful man, my father, took his last             pain of watching parents decline can be heartbreak-
       breath, lying in our guest room on a hospital bed        ing. Yet the inner joys of blessing the ones who gave us
provided by a hospice. “Bye, Dad,” I whispered. “I’ll           life far outweigh any inconvenience or hardship.
miss you so much. Oh, how I’ll miss you!” Through
tears, I leaned over the bedrail and kissed his forehead.       What’s the plan?
It was over. Dad had lost his hard-fought battle with
cancer.                                                         Whether your parents live nearby or 2,000 miles away,
                                                                you can help them enjoy their final years with dignity.
Two years earlier my husband, Dan, and I had invited            Communicate with them regularly. Gather information
my parents to come live with us. Of course, we knew my          from local, state or federal elder-care organizations.
parents cherished their independence; we respected              Prepare a list of nearby friends and family who can
that. And we understood their fierce determination              help.
never to become a burden to us. Yet, after many long-
distance trips, the reality that Mom and Dad needed             Scheduling a family pow-wow can be of great value
assistance had become obvious.                                  in assuring them that you truly care and wish to honor
                                                                their wishes. During your family meeting, be gentle and
On several visits we had filled their empty cupboards           compassionate yet firm. Ask probing, specific questions
and refrigerator with groceries, knowing that Dad’s             such as, “Dad, I see all your medication bottles are
medical expenses exceeded his pension. We tucked                empty. Would it be helpful to have them delivered to
money into their wallets, paid for prescriptions, left          your home?” or “Mom, I’m worried that you seem to he
rolls of quarters for their laundry and purchased               increasingly unsteady on your feet. How can we help
essentials for them. But my parents’ financial shortfalls       protect you from falls?” As much as possible, allow
represented only part of their needs.                           your parents to make their own decisions - as long as
                                                                they do not endanger themselves or others.
In their early 80s, Mom and Dad were feeling their age
as they tried to cope with his chemotherapy, radiation          Acquiring legal documents is also important. When my
and trips to the doctor. As Dad’s body weakened,                father became ill, both Mom and Dad signed papers
Mom tried to help him navigate daily chores, but it             giving me power of attorney to make decisions for
was more than she could handle. Her body language               them. Now, nine years later, this is invaluable as I care
told us volumes - total exhaustion, general confusion,          for Mom’s finances, health issues and legal matters.
unspoken fears. Finally, Mom and Dad agreed to accept
our invitation. They moved in with us, and we assisted          The commandment to honor our parents (Ephesians
in Dad’s medical care.                                          6:2) is not only a lifelong responsibility, but also a
                                                                privilege. As young children, we showed honor to our
Helping Dad in his final year and a half was rewarding          parents through obedience. In later years, we can
and difficult, joyous and painful, fulfilling and               demonstrate honor by seeing that our aging mothers
emotionally heartrending. Of special richness to me             and fathers receive excellent loving care.
were my bedside talks with Dad. I took copious notes
as he reminisced about his childhood, early marriage            Long-distance parental care
and ministry years.                                             If your aging parents don’t live with you, it is important
                                                                to keep in close contact with them, carefully watching
How much?                                                       for danger signs. Most likely, if they need assistance,
                                                                they will not ask. Intervention may be necessary if you
Today Mom is 89 and still lives in our home. We face            notice potentially harmful changes or deterioration
new challenges as the years pass. There may come a              such as:
day when we cannot give Mom the physical care she               • failure to take medications or inability to understand
needs. She may require assisted or skilled care.                    or follow doctors’ orders
                                                                • increasing forgetfulness-stove burners left on, bills
God’s Word tells us to honor our fathers and mothers.               not paid, missed appointments
The apostle Paul warns that if we do not care for our           • growing confusion, disorientation or agitation
own, we’re worse than unbelievers (1 Timothy 5:8). But          • deterioration of personal habits - not bathing, not
when parents come to live with adult children, both par-            wearing dentures, dirty home
ties relinquish independence, privacy and, sometimes,           • increased accidents at home and when driving
personal desires. When a parent can’t be left alone,
                                                                               Source : Focus on the Family Sept 07
                                  oF ThE EXTENDED
                                  What is The Extended Family ?

                                          hen there is a loving spirit among God’s creatures in one
                                          borderless unit, it is difficult to define what actually is
                                          “The Extended Family”, apart from the godly family as
                                  God intended.
  Rev. Luke Ooi is a retired
priest who continues to serve     Usually, the term “Extended family” refers to a consanguineous
faithfully at St Paul’s Church,   family. It can also mean a kindred family with no such blood
         Petaling Jaya.           ties. Often it points to a whole society, community, nation, or
                                  even the human race.

                                  What is The Extended Family ?
                                  For the past 50 years I have had the privilege of peeping into
                                  many family albums. There were the occasional “sad” stories when
                                  some painful events had to be recalled. More often, it has been a
                                  joy to learn from the tales of happy family relationships. More so,
                                  when shown and given the names of ancestors; home-pets like
                                  birds, dogs, and fishes of various colours and even hugging bears
                                  of different sizes, all regarded as family “members”. When there
                                  is such a loving spirit among God’s creatures in one borderless
                                  unit, it is difficult to define what actually is “The Extended Family”,
                                  apart from the godly family as God intended.

                                  The Human Family
                                  God has provided clear demarcations separating creatures of
                                  various kinds and within each species certain distinguishable
                                  patterns of relationship and interaction for its own good. Within
                                  each human family there are also very definite boundaries and
                                  necessary differentiation to facilitate the physical and spiritual
                                  health of its members. Usually, the term “Extended family”
                                  refers to a consanguineous family. It can also mean a kindred
                                  family with no such blood ties. Often it points to a whole society,
                                  community, nation, or even the human race.

                                  St. Luke traced our roots right back to Adam (Man) when God also
                                  created “male and female”. The only other biblical genealogist St
                                  Matthew stopped short at Abraham, the father of many nations.
                                  Emphatically, God had told Abraham: “So shall your generations
                                  be” (Gen.15.5). The “nations” were the extremely large extended
                                  families of the ancient Hebrews that also included relatives,
                                  foreigners, maids, and slaves.

                                  Whenever we pray “Our Father in heaven”, we believe that Jesus
                                  Christ is with us in one family which extends to all corners of the
                                  world spiritually. He has regarded all His disciples in a special
                                  way: ‘Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does

the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and           With the Open House celebrations, Malaysians
sister and mother’” (Matt 12:46-50 ).                       are trying with patience and tolerance to live in
                                                            “equilibrium” as a multi-racial, multi-religious,
The Pauline doctrine of salvation says “as one              and multi-cultural society. One cannot ignore the
man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men              visible differentiation, seen as “polarization” and
                                                            the boundaries as “sensitivities”.
(women as well) so one man’s act of righteousness
leads to acquittal and life for all men.” (Rom.
                                                            With Differentiation and Boundaries
5:18). St Paul also says the Spirit leads us to cry
                                                            Without knowing these, any family system can
“Abba Father” as children of God and even the
                                                            become dysfunctional and members can often get
whole creation groans and travails in pain like we
                                                            hurt seriously. I used to counsel a lady who would
all do, waiting for adoption as sons (daughters)
                                                            make several calls everyday to her adult son to
and for our redemption. But as human beings,
                                                            instruct him what to wear, what to eat, what to do
he tells us, we are different from other creatures.
                                                            and where to go, and so forth. He was tied to her
(cf Rom 8:19-23)
                                                            apron string, not quite differentiated. That was
                                                            one sure way to create a “sand-witch” or double-
The Nuclear and Extended Family
                                                            bind situation for her loving son and an “in-law”
Basically, the nuclear family consists of father,
                                                            complex for her daughter-in-law.. The young wife
mother, and children. No one can enter into this
                                                            ran back to her own mother every time she argued
unique family unit except by birth or by marriage.
                                                            with her husband. There was a weak boundary
In recent years, with the advent of DNA testing,
                                                            between the immediate family and the extended
this nuclear family is clearly defined. This blood
                                                            family. Each nuclear family is expected to function
relationship can then be extended to the great
                                                            on its own as God has intended. “For this reason,
grand parents and the great grand children
                                                            a man shall leave his father and mother, and
at both ends. Further extension can include
                                                            cleave to his wife” (Mark 10.7).
siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts, their children and
others. Among the Chinese and Japanese this
                                                            Colossians 3 and Ephesians 6 focus on other
extension may include the dead ancestors . To
                                                            principles and practical applications in both
this stem-extended family can be grafted in new
                                                            nuclear and extended family relationships.
branches by marriage, by adoption or by other
legal arrangements. Modern Japan is famous for              Extended Family Transformed
its doctrine of the “KA” (family) in which all the          My vision is that the whole extended family
workers in a company become members of its                  system will be able to function well when each
“extended family” with full privileges to share in          sub-system, on its own, knows full well who is in
the fortune.                                                charge of what; what to expect from one another;
                                                            when to change; and all family members can
The Linear Family                                           talk affectionately to one another freely and can
In rural areas, an Orang Tua (man) leads the
                                                            comfortably get hurt feelings and problems out in
whole village as an extended family mostly
related by blood. There are such “Close House”,             the open where all can help to work on them.
ethnic, communal expressions like “we are from
Tinnevelli”; from “the KHOO Kongsi”; or “Satu               Transformation of the Extended Family starts with
bangsa, satu ugama, dan satu negara” with well-             me, fully convinced that God is my Father and
respected male leadership. The blood stream of              Jesus Christ my Brother, praying for the Holy Spirit
desposynos (Greek= “belonging to the lord”) in              to guide me with the powerful will to change and
some parts of the world trickles on.                        to be transformed from self-love to the love of
                                                            God and neighbour, and fully renewed in mind,
The Systemic Family                                         and spirit to become a blessing to others.
In more enlightened regions, the extended family
means a Family System in which each immediate               When several such families are transformed, the
family is a sub-system with great freedom of                systemic impact on the extended family, on the
thoughts and actions while remaining connected to           community and on the whole nation will become
the other sub-systems. Members of the extended              irresistible.
family are visibly differentiated and they observe
the invisible boundaries. Mostly they often follow          The reality of the Extended Family is when “The
the rules, customs and traditions as expected               kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms
of them. They make great efforts to attend any              of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign
family functions such as birthdays, weddings, or            for ever and ever” (Revelations 11:15)
                                                                                                  Rev Luke Ooi

Boomers’ Guide to
                             by Tim and Darcy Kimmel

      race yourself for a new era of
      grandparenting! Just as our parents
      didn’t know what to think of us baby
boomers when we were going through our
teen years, our kids are starting to wonder                                    can impress upon our grandchildren an
what to think of us now that we are becoming                                  intrinsic value at a time when the culture
grandparents.                                                     (and sometimes their parents) measure them by strict
                                                                  and severe standards, such as how they do in school,
Gone are the stereotypes of musty houses arid rocking             sports and clubs. They need to know that regardless
chairs. Today’s grandparents are connected to WiFi                of how smart they are, how strong they are, how they
and listening to the Beatles on their iPods. Presently            look or how they perform, their grandparents think
there are close to 70 million of us in the United States          they are incredible. We cannot bless them too much;
alone, with the average age of a first-time grandparent           they ne.ed our affirmation and love.
being 47.
                                                                  • Set a standard. Another key role we need to play
We are an aging remnant of a generation that managed              in our grandchildren’s lives is to set a standard of
to turn our country upside down when we were young.               moral living in an immoral world. The worldview that
And as we’ve matured, we have made some major                     influences them embraces relativism, multiculturalism
changes in how we live and handle challenges.                     and a general ignorance of Christian beliefs.
But many of us come to this new place in life with                In a world that thinks God gave Moses the Ten
heavy hearts. We are grieved by a culture that                    “Suggestions,” we can be the
adamantly opposes the morals we long to instill in                “true north” for our grandchildren’s moral compass.
our grandchildren. Add to this the fact that divorce              Consider how you can help build character in the next
looms in the rearview mirror of so many of today’s                generation:
grandparents. And it’s not uncommon for our children
to have gone through a divorce themselves. Single                 1. Contagious faith. Show them how to take God out
parents and blended families in so many homes                        of a box and make Him the focus of their lives.
make it difficult for us to know where we fit in. Being
an effective grandparent today requires an extreme                2. Consistent integrity. Show them how to do the right
commitment.                                                          thing even when no one is looking.
In keeping with our baby boomer reputation, today’s               3. Practical poise. Show them how to maintain balance
grandparents are “extreme” in a good way. We are                     in their relationships, passions and principles.
extremely engaged in the lives of our grandchildren.
We are not satisfied to be occasional grandparents with           4. Personal discipline. Show them the power of self-
our hands and hearts kept at a safe distance. Rather,                denial and self-control to achieve what they want.
we want to be conscientious as we create a heart-to-
heart relationship with our grandchildren. We want to             5. Steadfast endurance. Show them how to keep going
be hands-on.                                                         when everyone is telling them to give up.
With this enthusiasm, grandparents are prepared to go             6. Inspirational courage. Show them how to face down
to extremes to connect to a generation that is different             their fears and do the right thing regardless of the
from the kids we raised. Inspired with love and pur-                 price.
pose, today’s grandparents are willing to cross the cul-
tural battlefields of music,                                      We may be a generation of rock ‘n’ roll grandparents,
fashion, technology and family fragmentation. And we              but we have a chance to hand something extraordinary
want to do all of this as an ally and asset to the parents        to this new generation of young people. Like so many
of our grandchildren.                                             of the other things we’ve done in our lives, we baby
                                                                  boomers will probably play our roles as grandparents
Whether your grandkids are living across the country,             to an extreme. But tempered by God’s grace, we
around the corner or under your roof, you can have a              have the capacity to be the most positively influential
tremendous spiritual influence by fulfilling two powerful         generation of grandparents.
                                                                                Source: Focus on the Family, Sept 2007
• Give a blessing. One role of extreme grandparents is
to give each grandchild a strong sense of blessing. Just
as Jacob blessed Joseph’s children (Genesis 48:16), we

                               TAN SRI [DR] JOHN G. DANIEL
                                      (1921 – 2007)

     he passing of Tan Sri Daniel is an immense                Tan Sri was a man of rare distinction and served on
     loss not only to the country but also to the              numerous national and international organizations.
     Anglican Diocese. He was a faithful member                He was Consultant to the World Bank on projects
of the Anglican Church since his early days and                in Indonesia and to the International Fund for
an honoured member of Standing Committee for                   Agricultural Development in Rome. He served on
many years. Tan Sri Daniel was instrumental in the             the Special Committee for the setting up of the
formation of the Diocese of West Malaysia in 1970              Academy of Sciences, Malaysia. In March 1995, he
and also played a major role in the formation of the           was appointed a Foundation Fellow of the Academy
Province of South East Asia in 1996.                           of Sciences, Malaysia and a Member of the Council
                                                               of the Academy.
Tan Sri Daniel served the Diocese faithfully and
relentlessly. Among his many contributions to the              A founder member and later Chairman of the
diocese, Tan Sri had the vision to rebuild St. James           Malaysian Senior Government Officers Association
Church, its hall and vicarage in Sentul. As a member           and president of the Institute of Engineers, Tan Sri
of St. Peter’s Church, Kuala Lumpur, Tan Sri was the           also served as Vice-President of the International
prime mover in obtaining the land as well as the               Commission on Irrigation and Drainage, the first
getting the plans approved for the new church in               Malaysian so elected.
                                                               Tan Sri Daniel was posthumously awarded the
His contribution as a member of many Anglican                  National Integrity Award by Minister in the Prime
School Boards was much appreciated and he will be              Minister’s Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok
very difficult to replace as Chairman of the Diocesan          on 5 November 2007. The award was organised
Lands and Properties Committee. His wisdom and                 by the Malaysian Professional Center and Rotary
discernment in developing these church assets will             International District 3300, in collaboration with the
always be remembered.                                          Malaysian Institute of Integrity and Transparency
In the national scene, Tan Sri rose in his professional
life from being a Technical Apprentice in 1941 to              This humble man of God was a faithful churchman
the Director General of Drainage and Irrigation                and a shining witness of humility, kindness and
from 1972 until 1976, when he retired at the age of            uprightness in the church and nation. He will serve
55. He also won the rare distinction from the then             as an inspiration to many and we praise and thank
Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak, of running “the               God for his sterling qualities of leadership and his
best Government Department in the country”.                    positive impact on so many lives.

His contribution to nation-building was seen in the            Our deepest condolences and love are with Puan Sri
West Johore Drainage Project funded by the World               Susheila and the family at this time.
Bank, which brought immense economic benefit to
the people of West Johore. Also, the introduction
of special water conduits, at the Muda Irrigation
Scheme in Kedah, enabled five crops of rice to be
harvested in two years. This achieved the aim of the
nation to be self-sufficient in rice production.

After his retirement from Government Service, Tan
Sri was appointed by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong
to serve on the Public Services Tribunal for nine
years. He was the Director – Engineering and later
Chairman of Minconsult Sdn. Bhd., one of the
largest indigenous firms of consultant engineers in
Malaysia. It was here that Tan Sri was responsible
for the planning of the North-South Highway (PLUS)
which helped bring many Malaysians closer to one                     Tan Sri J.G. Daniel (Middle Row: Third from right)
another.                                                           at one of the early meetings of the formation of the
                                                                                Province of South East Asia.

                    Persidangan Belia Anglikan Report 2007
                                               Finding Sanctuary
                                   A Journal on the PBA retreat in Cherating in July 2007

      he 21st PBA, which stands for        rest of the retreat. He placed strong   were after all in a Christian camp!).
      Persidangan Belia Anglikan,          emphasis on the importance of the       Of course, hardly anyone missed
      was held from Thursday 19th          young adults in the growth and          the chance of spending longer than
July till Sunday 22nd July, 2007 at        survival of the Anglican Church.        required at a McDonald’s joint to
the Sanctuary Cherating Resort and         His lighthearted and often humour-      break some bread and dip into
organized by the Diocesan Youth            laced words were easily digested        the impotent coke. All in all, it was
Council.                                   by those in attendance (at least the    huntilicious!
                                           ones who were awake). The session
Now that we have the formalities           ended with most delegates making        The next major event for the day
out of the way, let me just get into       their way down to a mamak stall in      was the session “Hypes of Life”,
the meat of things. The theme this         front of the hotel where the Bishop     conducted by Ms.Joyce Simson,
year was acronymised to HYPE,              was seen discussing matters with        who travelled from Kuala Lumpur
representing such ideals as “High-         the delegates over steaming cups        for the purpose. The focus of the
Young-Passionate-Energetic”. This          of sugar flavoured ‘pull’ tea or cof-   session was to educate everyone on
is a far cry from the slogan based         fee.                                    the importance of questioning what
themes which had overstayed their                                                  we are told and to think beyond our
welcome. It surely showed some             Day 2: Friday - Hunters became          narrow confines.
things were changing. And chang-           the Hunted
ing they surely were, I shall not de-      The second major activity for the day   A game was played to illustrate
prive you of juice, all I ask is for you   (breakfast being the first obviously)   the point, which involved the game
to continue reading.                       was a treasure hunt. The delegates      masters (namely Ms. Joyce Simson
                                           were divided into teams, each tak-      and her sister, Ms. Janice Simpson)
In the spirit of obeying command-          ing up one of the four names mak-       shushing the players at almost any
ments, the delegates (a flattering         ing up the word HYPE. The hunt          step of the process. We got the
title to represent participants who        took an average of four hours to        point in the end, that is, the com-
think that John Travolta’s breakout        complete and it was clear that ev-      peting teams should have worked
performance was in “Pulp Fiction”)         eryone had a great time. Well, with     together to overcome the obsta-
arrived in good time at the Resort         that much time to spare, they either    cles (good thing that participants
and checked into their respective          returned as friends or had gouged       were not allowed to say any swear
rooms. It would appear that rather         each other’s eyes out with a blunt      words, the sheer expressions on the
than follow the ‘law’ set by way of        instrument. Just as well that our       faces would have put any sailor to
precedent in other church camps,           onsite resident doctor was in a per-    shame).
the organizers took the cue from           petual state of denial, thus down-
higher authorities and revamped            grading such injuries to the status     Like the day before, most con-
the entire structure. They intro-          of a papercut. Despite the exhaus-      verged at the mamak stall after the
duced a programme that was a               tion and heat, most of the delegates    session. Most were able to identify
fine balance between addressing            had a blast cracking the codes and      the specials made in the stall by this
the needs of the young adults (by          acquainting with other participants     time.
needs I mean spiritual) and the            (they had no choice anyway, we
instant gratification prevailing in
our MTV culture. It was almost as
if someone had told the organizers
to put in place a programme that
would appeal to young adults to
encourage them to turn up.

Day 1: Thursday – Reaching for
the Moon
The delegates progressed to the
first activity of the day, dinner. This
caused no concern as everyone
made it to the dining tables on time
whilst jostling for forks and spoons
in somewhat almost disorderly or-
derly fashion.

The first major session of the day
was “Hype Intro”. The newly or-
dained Bishop Ng Moon Hing of
our diocese set the tempo for the

Day 3: Saturday – “No touching           What followed was nothing short         as ideas were bounced around on
please, we’re Anglicans!”                of pandemonium as cans of worms         how PBA could move forward and
The day started off rainy, which         were released and the all too infa-     reach out to more Anglican young
dampened hopes as the main ac-           mous Pandora decided to peek out        adults – teamwork, commitment to
tivity planned was to take a boat        of its box. Funny as it was, it was     inviting a friend to the next PBA and
to an island. Prayers were some-         a clever way of allowing the young      making better use of Internet tools
how particularly focused (for once       adults to open their minds and un-      were some of them.
throughout the entire duration of        derstand how the other half of the
the retreat) as the skies cleared        population think.                       The highly relevant PBA ended with
up and everyone rushed to catch                                                  a group photo shoot and a closing
their boats. Once on the island,         Day 4: Sunday – From Sanctuary          speech by Bishop who told us to
the participants broke into various      to Epiphany: A Spiritual Jour-          keep in mind his vision for the dio-
activities, some preferred to stay       ney                                     cese and to play a role in the shift
in the shade and play games (I am        First order of the day was to get       of the Church from a vertical estab-
not supposed to comment further,         ready, check out and head towards       lishment to a horizontal outreach
I will be mooned if I divulged any       the Church of Epiphany in Kuantan       unit. It was message that I believe
more….did I say ‘mooned’, I meant        for the Sunday morning service.         struck a chord with the delegates
marooned), others were making a          The Church extended its generos-        and as the saying goes, the only
racket in the water and playing a        ity to our group as they staged spe-    way now is up!
violent game called “Captain Ball”.      cial performances to commemorate
Luckily, no gentlemen were injured       their baptism and confirmation ser-     The young adults left Kuantan at
as the ladies behaved.                   vice and if that was not enough,        about 2:30pm, and returned to
                                         they treated us to a scrumptious        their respective destinations tired
The post dinner session was “Mr.         meal – now that’s amazing grace!        but happy with their new level of
and Mrs. Hype”. Compared to the                                                  friendship and bonding that had
earlier two sessions, this was the       To justify our freebie shows and        taken place at this PBA. The DYC
most colourful (literally) as the par-   food, we then stayed back as the        must be commended for a job well
ticipants were separated on gender       organizing committee insisted to        done.
basis and told to consider qualities     carry out a postmortem on the re-
they seek in a life partner. These       treat (despite our shouts “it was re-                              Reported by
qualities were asked to be shown         ally good….can we go now?”). The                           Suaran Singh Sidhu
in a pictorial format to the rest.       sharing session was worthwhile              St Mary’s Cathedral, Kuala Lumpur

   Worship Leaders’ and
   Musicians’ Workshop
                                           Emmanuel Church, Tapah

      he Music Ministry Department of the Board of Tamil and Allied
      Works (BOTAW) had an opportunity to conduct a Worship
      Leaders’ and Musicians’ Workshop on 21 October 2007
in Emmanuel Church, Tapah. The purpose of the workshop was
to encourage and assist the church worship team to enhance the
worship in their church. The Workshop was held after the Sunday
Service with around 35 people in attendance.

The workshop was divided into two main parts. The first section was
teaching on the purpose of worship and the role of the worship team
based on Acts 15:26. The second part of the workshop covered the
practical side of praise and worship. This included preparations for
leading worship, hand signals, role of musicians and practical tips on
worship leading. The workshop was truly a blessing for the church as
there is already a request for further follow up on the workshop. We
look forward to assisting our church in the near future.

                             Music Ministry Department (BOTAW)

                            ChurCh AND MISSIoN IN CoNTEMporArY AFrICA
                                                                        By Victor Atta-Baffoe
                         The Very Rev Dr Victor Atta-Baffoe of Ghana gave a        his doctoral degree at King’s College, University of
                         public lecture at St Peter’s Church, KL on 15 September   London. He chairs The African Network of Institutions of
                         2007. The lecture, jointly organized by the Diocese       Theological Education Preparing Anglicans for Ministry
                         of West Malaysia and Seminari Theoloji Malaysia,          and is on the Inter-Anglican Doctrinal and Theological
                         focused on “Mission & Culture - An appraisal of the       Commission. He is also a member of the Anglican
                         Church in Africa – in the midst of church growth, HIV     Communion’s Covenant Design Group. He was a delegate
                         AIDS, poverty & interfaith relations”.                    from West Africa to the October 2005 Global South-to-
                                                                                   South meeting in Egypt. He wrote A Study of Richard
                         Dr Atta-Baffoe is the Principal of St Nicholas            Hooker’s Theology of Participation and the Principle of
                         Theological College in Ghana, Africa. He completed        Anglican Ecclesiology.

Following is the paper he presented.
                               I                                        of individual convictions. This characteristic of modernity
                                                                        has not been fully appreciated. Its implications are that,
Discussion of the Africa context must begin with African                as far as religion is concerned, Christians, Muslims and
reality – reality, which is located in time and space. For              Traditionalists should co-exist and co-operate to build a
analysis of this kind, it is worthy to take a closer look at            common humanity without fear or favour. At the practical
the aspect of African reality so as to assess its theological           level of providing essential social amenities, there ought
validity. The underlying concern here is to put the discussion          not to be conflict in a religiously pluralistic community.
into two categories: the religio-cultural dimension and                 Schools, hospitals, roads, water and electricity – such
the socio-political dimension of African reality.                       services do not know religious barriers. But religious
                                                                        conflicts can hinder the provision of such amenities.
The Religio-cultural Dimension
The existence of Africa religio-culture is characterized by             Ethnic Pluralism: The issue of ethnicity in Africa is a complex
cultural pluralism. This is based on diversities of three               one, which is not at all easy to define. Ethnic groups may
major types of cultural pluralism: religion, ethnicity and              be organized around a common history, beliefs and
language.                                                               tradition. They may share common social, economic and
                                                                        political activities, with common interests and a common
Religious Pluralism: As it is expressed in most cultures,               destiny. Above all, members of an ethnic unit share
religion in Africa is an unquestionable cultural reality. It is         cultural symbolisms that express their cohesiveness. It is
an integral expression of the African cultural background,              this symbolism that distinguishes one ethnic group from
and as such, determines the thoughts and actions of the                 another.
educated professional in modern cities and towns, as
well as, the peasant farmer in the village. It is true to say           More importantly, the relation between “ethnic group”
that religion permeates every aspect of African life and                and “tribe” is not altogether clear. It is not precisely clear
so any dichotomy between the religious and the socio-                   where one ends and the other begins. For example,
political concerns is false. It is equally true to note that            some analysts hold the view that ethnic groups should be
contemporary Africa is a society of mixed religion with                 distinguished from tribal groups, while others seem to use
three religious traditions: African traditional religion                both terms interchangeably.
(ATR), Christianity and Islam. Although Christianity and
Islam have thrived at the expense of ATR, nonetheless,                  Ethnicity functions as an umbrella, under which group
the underlying philosophy and worldview of traditional                  members strive to mobilize and compete effectively for
religion have by no means declined.                                     state-controlled power, economic resources, positions
                                                                        and constitutional protections. It refers to a subjective
Religious pluralism in African society presents a triple                perception of common origins, historical memories,
religious heritage for any authentic conversation about                 ties and aspirations of people who are linked by a
both the human experience of reality and of the Ultimate                consciousness of a special identity, who jointly seek to
Reality. Although evidence suggests that Christianity is                maximize their corporate political, economic and social
the majority religion in African society today, one should              interests. The people of Africa live in a multi-ethnic society.
not underestimate the influence of the Islamic religious                To bring together all these autonomous states or groups
culture and ATR in the theological expressions and                      under one umbrella and less than one centralized form of
interpretation of Africa’s social reality. Consequently, any            government is one of the greatest challenges that Africa
theology of mission must take into account the people’s                 has to face since independence. For example, in the early
daily experience of life and the struggle for full humanity.            years of Ghana’s independence many politicians exploited
The theologian, like the sociologist, needs to seek to                  ethnic feeling and emotions for political gain. Across the
analyze the effects of religio-cultural systems on human                country, politicians formed parties along ethnic loyalties in
behaviour, as religious beliefs and ideas have a profound               order to secure votes from the ethnic groups. Dr. Kwame
influence on praxis.                                                    Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana, dealt with the
                                                                        situation by promulgating the Avoidance of Discrimination
In a religiously pluralistic society, there may be many                 Act, which made it unlawful to organize political parties
religious persuasions within the same cultural environment.             on an ethnic, religious and sectional basis. The Act was an
For example, in Europe and North America today, citizens                attempt to help in uniting different ethnic groups under
can belong to a wide variety of religions, while the                    national issues instead of ethnic preferences.
predominant culture is the same for all. In contemporary
Africa, we have come to terms with the demands of the                   Regrettably, Nkrumah did not give this arrangement
modern secular state. Culture of modernity demands                      much time to work, when in 1964, he turned Ghana
plurality of individual persuasions but a unity of purpose              into a One-Party state. However, since the fall of Kwame
– a common cultural identity nurtured by a wide variety                 Nkrumah in February 1966, subsequent civilian regimes

have endorsed the importance of the Avoidance of                     Africa today have been dominated by the ramifications of
Discrimination Act. Thus, the 1979 and 1992 constitutions            capitalist imperialism, which in the history of the people
endorsed the idea and stated that every political party that         has been associated with slavery and the slave trade,
would be formed must have a national character, and that             colonialism and neo-colonialism. One such case made
the internal organization of any political party should be           against neo-colonialism is that it has played rival tribal
democratic.                                                          groups against one another, which in some cases had
                                                                     resulted in coups d’etat.
One needs to ask the question: as a multi-ethnic
community, what role has the Church to play in situations            There seems, however, to be an emergence of democratic
such as these? Thus the issue of ethnic pluralism as an              culture in African politics today. The Church then has
African reality cannot be overlooked in mission theology             a role to play in the promotion and sustenance of a
in Africa. The point being made here is that mission in              democratic culture in society. The expression ‘democratic
Africa must respond to the issue of ethnic diversity in              culture’ points to the practice of a life which is informed by
order to promote the richness of diversity as a catalyst             such democratic principles as: collective decision making,
for enrichment in a pluralistic society, and not as an               tolerance, freedom of choice, freedom of association,
impoverishing factor that can generate only conflicts,               accountability, respect for law and order, respect for
inter-ethnic violence and divisiveness.                              individual rights, respect for authority, and equality of all
                                                                     persons. In the light of this reasoning, democratic culture
Language Pluralism: As far as the expression of the                  transcends politics. It is something that touches the life of
Africa cultural heritage is concerned, language has                  the human as a social being. It touches relationships at
certain implications for mission. Language is used in this           home, school, workplaces, Churches and in the community
context, not only in terms of spoken language, but also              as a whole. It deals with every decision that affects the
in terms of poetry, art and literature. It also expresses the        individual’s life, and has its basis in our upbringing as
anthropological, cosmological and liturgical convictions             human beings.
of the people. Certainly, the riches of African culture lie
hidden in African languages. The study of the languages              The Church can only promote and sustain democratic
therefore, is an invaluable means of exploring the history           culture in Africa if she herself practices democracy. By
of Africa’s cultural heritage. It also represents a key that         example, precept and discipline, the Church must clearly
offers enormous opportunities for discovering the cultures           demonstrate that she is a democratic institution. That is,
of the Africans.                                                     an institution which, by all standards, is characterized with
                                                                     such democratic values as collective decision-making,
The theological implication of language pluralism for                tolerance of opposing views and religious persuasions,
mission is that it uncovers the riches of African religiosity        freedom of choice, accountability, respect for law and
and spirituality, which reveals not just African concepts of         order, respect for an individual rights etc. The Church
the Supreme Being, but also the cosmos and humanity’s                must be a community where individuals, whether rich or
part in it. These concepts provide invaluable opportunities          poor, educated or uneducated are seen to matter, where
for theological reflections on mission and the Church in             every voice is given a hearing, individual concerns are
African society.                                                     taken into account and where the rich and the poor, the
                                                                     powerful and the weak, the minority and the majority,
The Socio-political and Economic Dimension                           the clergy and the laity are recognized as having intrinsic
In the “Africa Report” presented at the Second General               worth as human beings and as the children of God.
Assembly of EATWOT in Oaxtepec, Mexico, in 1986,
African theologians pointed out that:                                The Socio-economic Factor: According to Karl Marx:
                                                                     Not to have is not a mere category, it is a most disconsolate
Among the Third World continents, Africa appears                     reality; today the one who has nothing is nothing, for
essentially as a land of domination and exploitation,                one is cut from existence in general and still more from
quartered, torn apart, divided, atomized, trampled under             human existence….. Not to have is the most desperate
foot. It is the continent where frequently the people have           spiritualism, a complete unreality of the human, and a
no dignity, no rights, and no hope. These challenges                 complete reality of the dehumanized.
are becoming more intolerable considering that natural
catastrophes – which are desperately repeated – are                  Situation and concerns of world events in recent days
added to evils caused by human mischief and injustice.               demonstrate the condemnation of Africa to poverty by the
                                                                     world’s powerful and the deprivation of black people of
The Church as an institution is challenged by what happens           the responsibility of their own destiny. As it stands, most (if
in society. Current changes in Africa have already affected          not all) nations pay up to ten times as much each year in
the lives of those who come to Church. People are so                 debt repayments as they receive in aid from the wealthier
much occupied with personal ambitions that they seldom               nations, and up to about 40 per cent of the nation’s income
contribute to the well being of the community. People                is spent in servicing debt instead of basic needs such as
remain indifferent to community life and stability. It needs         food, health and education. What this means is that in
to be said that current social and political structures in           addition to the existing social and economic deprivation,
Africa have produced widespread insecurity regarding                 the situation means severe personal hardship for the
the future. For instance, rampant violation of human                 great majority of the people.
rights, the refugee phenomenon, civil and tribal wars,
famines and health care are serious threats to the growth            The abject poverty of the African people stares the African
and development of the people of Africa. In view of the              Church and its mission of preaching the good news of
plethora of problems facing the people in society, only              Christ’s gospel to the people in the face. Doing mission in
the superficial observer would separate the theological              contemporary Africa amid the dehumanizing conditions
hermeneutics of the gospel of Jesus Christ from varying              of socio-economic reality calls to mind what John Calvin
situations of socio-political and economic crisis on the             called “nefarious perfidy” in the sense that, this not only
Africa culture.                                                      constitutes a betrayal of the gospel itself, but also of the
                                                                     freedom of God’s own people. In the situation where
The Political Factor: The concrete political realities in            Africa society undergoes transitions from rural to urban

and from agriculture to industrial, what Marx described as             what our economic system should be all about. Questions
“reality of the dehumanized” poses tremendous theological              such as – Is inflation, employment and economic growth
challenges. These challenges range from poverty, hunger,               up or down? Is the deficit harmful or harmless? Where
diseases, poor housing, child and infant mortality,                    are interest rates headed? We should see these questions
unemployment, population explosion, inadequate or no                   as dealing with only the surface layer of the economic
health care facilities, illiteracy and family disintegration to        system.
difficulties in transportation and inadequate information
technology systems.                                                    According to Robert D. Hamrin, a much broader underlying
                                                                       set of questions that would provide a more comprehensive
                              II                                       assessment of whether the economy is doing well or
                                                                       poorly, would include: (1) “Who are the recent and current
It cannot be disputed that the situation on the ground                 winners and losers from the economy’s performance?”
defined as underdevelopment, instead of growth, is all                 (2) “What is the impact of our current labour market
that is developing in Africa. How can the African survive?             structure on marriages and family?” (3) “Do the current
An existential question! What role must the Church in its              income distributions meet basic equity standards?” (4) “Is
mission play in guiding the people out of their misery?                growth occurring at the expense of the natural resource
How can theology of mission respond to the paradox of                  and environmental base and how is it distributed?” (5)
the Africa situation, where the people live in abundant                “Do the current economic policies promote or hinder
cash and food crops, and mineral resources – such as                   economic progress in Third World Nations?”
cocoa, coffee, banana, palm oil, maize, timber, gold,
diamond, bauxite, and yet face absolute poverty?                       The discussion on the economy so far, points to the basic
                                                                       choice regarding what economic approach we take and the
Poverty and Displacement:                                              type of economy in which we live. The choice comes down
We can hardly dispute the fact that poverty defined                    to this: Either we continue to operate in unquestioning
among other things as lack of opportunity to develop our               fashion under the values, rules and resulting policies of
abilities, to control our own lives. This is said in view of           the mechanistic economic paradigm or we establish some
the fact that economic deprivation, political injustice and            new holistic, ethical economic paradigms that concretely
disorientation of our lives due to protracted war are a                reflect a deep respect for the dignity of people and
ubiquitous reality in Africa as a whole, and particularly Sub          nature.
Saharan Africa. Famine is a regular feature in Africa. It is
a common phenomenon in Africa that many households                                                  III
have members who are chronically or periodically hungry.
As such urban and rural poverty is a persistent reality on             The Challenge of HIV / AIDS to Mission:
the continent.                                                         The fact that the incurable disease called Acquired
                                                                       Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is real cannot be
The question is what are the root causes of poverty and                disputed any more. It is also a fact that the AIDS epidemic
displacement in Africa? This question presupposes that                 is growing beyond imaginable proportions. Initially,
“poverty is not a state of being; it is the effect of dynamic          scientists predicted that of those infected by the Human
processes”. Knowing where poverty is, is important but                 Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) only 1 in 10 persons would
knowing why it exists is critical. This inquiry necessarily            die, then 2 in 10 persons, then 3 in 10 persons. Now the
raises the question regarding the condition for the                    reality on the ground seems to suggest that everyone with
possibility of poverty and leads away from inquiring                   the infection will die.
into the nature of the poor as individuals. Poverty and
displacement are not just personal phenomena. They                     Available statistics show clearly that the disease has
are social realities. As such, while we may measure                    reached pandemic proportion in Africa. Let me only refer
the effects of poverty and displacement at the personal                you to the Worldwide HIV/AIDS statistics as at November
levels, we must consider their sources elsewhere in the                2006 by the UNAIDS/WHO. The global estimate of people
social and physical environment. It has been noted that                living with HIV/AIDS is 39.5 million. Out of this figure, the
“at the heart of poverty is the inadequate access of                   estimate of people living with HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan
the poor to productive resources. Low incomes tend to                  Africa is 24.7 million.
reflect inadequate means of production, not incompetent
producers. However, poverty is not simply a reflection of              In as far as mission is concerned; I wish to submit that the
private resources. Some broad ranges of ‘external’ factors             Church’s response to the HIV/AIDS and sexuality problems
impinge on incomes”. For example:                                      must be a three-dimensional approach, namely, integrated
                                                                       sex education based on a Bible-based sexual ethics, an
Structural Imbalance and Economic Justice:                             organized compassionate action, and active support of
Resources do not come into a vacuum. They come                         the intervention programme to prevent the spread of the
into a given social framework. The nature of the social                infection. This means that we do not have to deal only
framework determines the allocation and the use of these               with the treatment of and caring for suffering persons but
resources. In an unjust social framework, “the use of more             also with the personal and social transformation that can
resources will only increase inequality and exploitation of            prevent the spread of the infection.
the weak”. One irony of global development is that while
no government wants poverty, many government policies                  Sex Education: Sex education is, perhaps, the sector of
contribute to it – other policies drain away what they give            human formation that almost always receives the most
in anti-poverty programmes. The poor are always the                    attention in Christian education as such and in family
losers in the equation.                                                education in particular. This is so not only because of
                                                                       the “dogmatic” position of the Church in sexual matters
Clearly, we need a new economic paradigm that would                    and marriage morality, but also because sexuality is an
ensure economic justice. I therefore submit a new set of               essential constitutive part of humanity, which radically
questions regarding the performance of our economy. The                and profoundly affects the whole being of the individual
fact is that the traditional questions we ask with respect             as a body-spirit personality. We cannot exist without being
to performance of our economy only skim the surface of                 sexual. Sexuality stamps our being-man or being-woman.

It is for this reason that a person’s life and character can,
perhaps, be said to be affected as much by the state of              Support of the Intervention Programmes: The Church
his/her sexuality as by the state of his/her conscience.             must also critically support the intervention programmes
                                                                     which are in place to control the spread of HIV/AIDS,
Many traditions in Africa regard sex as something sacred             especially the use of condoms. Whereas one agrees that
that must be revered and exercised with dignity and respect,         the promotion of the use of condoms is necessary in the
and only in the context most appropriate to it – marriage.           fight against the spread of the infection, one takes issue
Yet it must be acknowledged that traditional methods of              with the impression that is given that condoms can prevent
sexual education alone are not sufficient for education in           the HIV/AIDS infection. The numerous advertisements on
the modern context. The traditional sex taboos, which seek           condoms give the impression that with them one can have
to enforce respect for the sacredness of sex and sexuality           “safe sex”. It must be said that the adverts on condoms
and to protect marriage have lost their legitimating force           presuppose a break down of sexual morality. They point
permanently due to the changed would view, and also                  to sexual permissiveness and promiscuity. The advert is
where the belief in forces of the supernatural especially            generally directed toward those who cannot say “no”
ancestors, have lost much credibility and allegiance.                to promiscuity. Since I cannot say “no” to premarital,
Consequently, traditional values and norms regarding                 extramarital intercourse, since I cannot stick to a single
sex could retain their validity in substance in the Christian        partner, I must protect myself with a condom.
formation today, but only to the extent that they receive
a more open, rational and informed, but humane                       The question is, is the condom the solution to the HIV/AIDS
justification and enlightened presentation. Likewise,                problem? The answer is no. this is precisely because in
Christian sexual education cannot hope to succeed with               spite of the adverts on condoms, the HIV/AIDS pandemic
only sexual dos and don’ts. It must happen within the                is on the increase. What we need to do is to embark on a
context of firm and transparent Christian moral convictions          campaign urging people to say “no” to sexual promiscuity
about and witness to the value of sexuality and sex, and in          and encourage people to remain faithful to a single
an atmosphere of loving, but caring dialogue with young              partner.
people. The danger of not having a critical dialogue with
young people is that when one considers the incidences               The Church must respond to the HIV/AIDS and sexual
of teenage pregnancies, abortions, prostitutions, broken             issues with comprehensive sex education, a compassionate
marriages etc. surely a “dogmatic” approach will have                programme that enhances care initiatives and through the
little chance of success, because sexuality is one of the            active but critical support of the intervention programmes
areas that modern men and women do not anymore want                  the governments have drawn to stem the tide of the
to hear dogmas about.                                                spread of HIV/AIDS. Christian Churches have long
                                                                     played important roles in providing pastoral care, health,
Compassionate Programme: Besides sex education, the                  education, development services to the community.
Church must also respond to the problem in question with             Today, HIV/AIDS demands of us that we acknowledge the
a compassionate programme. That is to say, there is the              realities of people’s sexual lives as they actually exist, in
need to move away from the judgemental theory which                  order to help our people to fuller and more meaningful
has characterized the response of many Christians to the             lives. The Church is called to the ministry of caring. This
question of HIV/AIDS infection. It cannot be overstated              means promoting the acceptance of people living with
that we have no moral duty to make the AIDS patient                  HIV/AIDS, fighting against judgemental attitudes toward
feel worse. We can give several reasons for calling for              the infected and developing programmes to address their
a compassionate programme as a response to the HIV/                  needs.
AIDS infection problem.
Defining the HIV/AIDS problem solely in terms of God’s
punishment of the sexually promiscuous is wrong. There is            The theological reality of the African social and economic
no doubt that AIDS “could be one dramatic method God is              life cannot be given any adequate interpretive analysis or
using to wake up a sinful society to the realities of sin and        be understood apart from the socio-historical context of
judgement”. Nevertheless, the judgement theory leaves                contemporary African society. Indeed it is a theological
so many questions unanswered. For example, what is the               fallacy to assume that in mission, the social and economic
sin of the person who gets infected with HIV through the             realities of the society have nothing to do with the spiritual
reception of infected blood? What is the sin of a child who          formation of the people.
gets infected with the virus? Thus the judgement theory
raises more questions than it answers. What we need is a             The issues raised in the foregoing consideration have
compassionate programme that will engender a practical               confirmed characteristics of cultural pluralism based on
caring response to HIV/AIDS patients. It is not our duty to          diversities in religion, ethnicity and language, and also in
make dying people feel worse. It is rather our vocation              the political and socio-economic analyses. But do these
and ministry to give them hope and healing in the name               factors have implications for mission? The answer is
of Jesus Christ. The Church can help the dying face the              obvious. The need for a relevant theological hermeneutics
mystery of death with hope and dignity.                              is not only necessary to understand the African. It is
                                                                     also a legitimate theological pursuit, which calls for an
There is hope for the dying in Christ. The Church must in            epistemological break in the way we do mission.
response to the HIV/AIDS problem, present the love of
Christ, and not judgement to the infected. Every time a              The hermeneutic approach that characterizes the
Christian speaks, smiles or takes an AIDS patient’s hand             theological thinking, which is contained in this presentation,
the patient comes into touch with some aspect of Christ              seeks both to understand the African religio-cultural and
himself. This means that AIDS offers the Church a unique             socio-political and economic reality and to interpret this
opportunity to present the gospel to a sinful and corrupt            reality in the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in order
world. The Church should be the channel of hope to the               to bring about transformation through the Church and its
hopeless AIDS patient. After all God met the evil of the             mission.
world not with a theological analysis, but with the cross.
So we should do the same.

     St Mark’s Church,

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