The CWM Board members who were elected at the Assembly in June, converged in Singapore for a three-day meeting, 23 to 25 October, 2016. The purpose of this first meeting of the Board of Directors was part orientation and part Business. Their first activity was the Sunday worship service at Amazing Grace Presbyterian Church – a congregation within the CWM member church, Presbyterian Church in Singapore (PCS). The senior minister of Amazing Grace, Rev Dr Steven Gan, welcomed the Board and hosted them for lunch. CWM Moderator, Rev Darchonhaia Darnei brought greetings to the congregation and shared CWM’s vision and mission.
Rev Darchonhaia Darnei reiterated the CWM theme Healing: Hope in Action which was launched at the CWM Assembly in June, and that which will inform CWM’s work for the next four years. This theme he said, “Invites us to faithful discipleship, grounded in hope,” noting that our faithful actions will lead to healing of the brokenness experienced throughout all of God’s creation. The Moderator extoled the Secretariat, under the able leadership of the General Secretary Rev Collin Cowan, for “rolling out a six-point programme aimed at giving content to the theme and proving opportunities for member churches and the ecumenical community to reinterpret the meaning of mission in the context of Empire.” In his role as Moderator, and on behalf of the Board, he invited the worshippers to join CWM “on the journey of hope so that together we may make a difference in a world that is yearning for leadership defined by integrity, courage and a sense of purpose.” He thanked the senior minister and the congregation for their gracious hospitality in receiving the team and for the ways in which the PCS has accompanied the CWM Secretariat and the Board over the years.
Rev Darchonhaia Darnei introduced the Board members as coming from all the six regions of CWM family as follows: Botswana & South Africa (Africa), New Zealand & Tuvalu (Pacific), Jamaica & Guyana (Caribbean), Wales & England (Europe), India (South Asia), Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea & Taiwan (East Asia). It is a fifteen-strong Board; thirteen constituting the CWM Ltd Board of Directors and two independent members who, along with four Directors from CWM Ltd, form the Trustee Body of Council for World Mission (UK). He noted that the role of the Board was to serve CWM jointly with the Secretariat to serve members like PCS, by taking seriously the CWM mission statement: “Called as to partnership in Christ, to mutually challenge, encourage and equip member churches to share in God’s mission.”
As part of their orientation the new Board members also visited the CWM Singapore office to acquaint themselves with this part of the secretariat (CWM has four other offices located in Africa, Caribbean, Europe and the Pacific). Their time at the office commenced with opening worship and a Bible reflection led by the Moderator. He shared with the Directors on the story of David and Goliath, noting how it captivated him while translating the Bible into his local language. He outlined the mood and movement of the story, pointing out the spirit and power within it, which spoke deeply about mission and ministry and the need for CWM Directors and staff to be bold and hopeful. He used that theme to encourage and inspire the CWM Directors at the start of their tenure and the staff in their continuing work. The Moderator reminded the Directors and staff that the numerous obstacles to mission within the context of Empire which are of “Goliath” proportions. Empire has many death-dealing warriors that threaten and intimidate those, like CWM, whose stance is to affirm life. Empire with its many imposing systems and institutions can co-opt and stifle life-affirming efforts. Nonetheless, the Moderator urged all to trust, like David, that the Spirit of the Lord is upon us and the mighty will surely fall. He exhorted the CWM family to nurture and strengthen each other in our vision to attain “fullness of life through Christ for all creation.” He said this was the only way we can empower each other to be faithful to Christ and to remain hopeful in His healing power as we build life-affirming communities together.
During the Board meetings, The General Secretary unveiled CWM’s 40th Anniversary (1977-2017) programme with detailed proposals for the year-long celebrations which will take place in 2017-2018. Centred on the Assembly theme “Healing: Hope in Action”, the celebrations will be integrated within existing CWM programmes at global and regional levels and will include a publication of 40 missional stories drawn from individuals and member churches.
The Directors had opportunities to share fellowship with staff at lunch and to engage at the office. CWM treasurer, Mr John Ellis, summed up the experience poignantly in the words: “The Board reflects much of CWM’s diversity and it was fascinating for us as new Directors to discover some of our common issues and complementary perspectives.”
CWM is on a journey of Hope. The Board of Directors and the Trustee Body are committed and ready to undertake this role as Directors and the Secretariat looks forward to working with them. To God be the glory for people who are willing and ready to offer their services to advance God’s Mission through CWM.