The blessing of an ecumenical team

“Hark the herald angels sing…”

Voices ring through the open area of a Hong Kong subway station on Christmas Eve.

For more than 10 years, 10 different churches in our area join together to sing Christmas carols at our local subway station.

We divide into four teams, each representing two or three churches, who singing Christmas carols together as we walk through our neighbourhoods. Then, we all join together to sing at the open area of the subway station.

My highlight was the year I conducted the “choir” singing Christmas songs. There were 500 people to singing these songs about Jesus together. With all those people, we did not need any loudspeakers for the choir – they were loud enough. What a wonderful experience.

Easter joint worship

Another function on which we work together with other denominations on is the Easter joint worship. About 10 churches in our area join together on Easter Sunday. We have our Easter morning worship on a football court together. In the afternoon, we have a gospel carnival which allows unchurched people to hear about Jesus as they come to play.

All these begin with a prayer meeting of the pastors in the area. I have being joining this prayer meeting for more than 20 years. When we come together, we share about our joy and our difficulties. We pray for each other, and we pray for the area. We even have a yearly retreat together.

“Who are the Mennonites?”

As the pastor of a Mennonite church, I am frequently asked “What is Anabaptist?” or “Who are the Mennonites?” – not only by newcomers to my church but also other pastors.

In this group that holds services together, there are people from Baptist, International Foursquare Gospel, Pentecostal, and Cumberland Presbyterian churches. Of course there are differences between us, but the most important is that we love each other and we can work together to do more for our Lord Jesus Christ. As we come together, we respect our different traditions and our theologies, and we focus on what we have in common through Jesus Christ, our hope.

“What is the standpoint of the church?”

Over the last year, Hong Kong has experienced one of the most difficult times in her history. In our churches, it has been difficult as well. A common question for people in our congregations is “What is the standpoint of the church?” Pastors have been very busy answering these questions and at the same time settling down even conflicts within their churches among people who have different perspectives on the answers to those questions.

It is a blessing that we can come together as pastors from different churches and share our wisdom and our burdens. This is very important because we know that we are not alone: we have God and these coworkers standing together. When the MWC delegation from the Peace Commission and Deacons Commission visited Hong Kong in December 2019, they gave teachings on peace to this group of pastors.

As a pastor of a small church, I am blessed to have so many pastors praying and working together in the area. So, not only do I have my international coworkers within the Mennonite circle, but I also have ecumenical coworkers in my local. We will have differences, but we can work together. We love each other as a team. We are brothers and sisters in the Lord. Hallelujah!

—Jeremiah Choi is trained as a composer and a pastor. He currently serves as pastor of Agape Mennonite Church, Hong Kong, and as Mennonite World Conference regional representative for Northeast Asia.

 

This article first appeared in Courier/Correo/Courrier April 2020. Click here to read other articles from this issue.

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