Friday, 14 July 2017

Be upstanding for Mr Wesley

I have never been in an act of worship in the UK which included the congregation standing and reading words written by John Wesley before two minutes of silent prayer. I don't think I would ever have thought of doing it but this was the conclusion of the morning Bible Study and worship at the conference in Hong Kong. I found it very moving.
Standing to read a passagefrom John Wesley's "Advice to a people called Methodist"
On the previous evening, over 750 delegates gathered in Kowloon Methodist Church for the opening ceremony of the conference of the World Federation of Chinese Methodist Churches. We had eaten together, sharing a chinese barbecue including roast pok, duck, goose and chicken and then went into the church to worship.

The singing was beautiful, led by a robed choir and including some hynms I knew well and others that were completely new to me. The final hymn was sung to the tune of "The Ash Grove" the Welsh folk tune seeming entirely appropriate as a recessional hymn.

The sermon was preached by a Bishop from Thailand, the text was Acts 2:37-47 and again the references to Mr Wesley abounded. I reflected on the co-incidence or God-incidence of the text being that chosen by the President and Vice-President of the British Conference for their focus this year. As he preached about holistic mission the Bishop asked us,"If John Wesley were here today what would he say?"

I wonder if we would benefit from more attention to Mr Wesley?

We celebrated communion togetherand finally covenanted to learn, share and watch over one another as we actively participated in the conference.

The second day began at 8.15 with worship and Bible Study and included the first of 3 key note addresses on the theme (Holistic Mission), two workshops and an hour of prayer for those sent out on mission. In between I had lots of conversations with people from Malaysia, Singapore, USA, Australia and Taiwan. It was a packed programme before we were taken by coach to a celebration banquet and cultural evening which will be the subject of another blog.

For those who are interested in doctrine and liturgy:

We used a new version of he Nicene Creed in our worship. It has been produced to respond to some of the difficulties of translation into Chinese, going back to the original Greek text rather than a translation from English. The intention was also to produce a version that could be said by all Christians.

Some of you, like me, may have an immediate question - "What about the filioque clause?"
They have simply omitted it.


  1. Filioque was never in the Greek and I think still isn't in the Greek texts that Eastern rite Catholics use.

    The Ash Grove is a Welsh folk tune!

    1. I should have written more clearly. Of course Filioque was never included by the eastern church. Did they not say "through the Son?" It's a long time since I've looked specifically at this and difficult to check while in Hong Kong.

      As a proud half-Welsh person I am ashamed not to have remembered that Ash Grove is Welsh and will amend the blog!

  2. Roast Pok sounds interesting... though it looked like Roast Pork to me - but then I don't eat meat, so what do I know... just saying.
    What a mark of respect though and isn't it interesting how churches abroad seem to recognise and even know more about Mr Wesley than some of us over in the UK? Thank you for sharing this.