27 April 2013 by James Hoh CM-
The Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) held its Service Dedication of the new Ecumenical Center and a thanksgiving dinner on the 23rd April 2013 (Tuesday) in Petaling Jaya and was attended by some 1,000 people.
Rev Bishop Datuk Dr Thomas Tsen, Rev Bishop Philip Lok, Bishop Datuk Bolly Lapok, Rev Chua Hua Peng, Rev Jeysraj, Rev Dr Hermen Shastri, Mr Andrew Lai Tsin Ngi, Datuk Ng Moon Heng, Dato Dr Tan Kee Kwong, Rev Dr Thomas Philips and Rev Eu Hong Seng were some of the many dignitaries at the dinner event.
The crowd was also inspired by well-known singers Patrick Leong and Juwita Suwito.
The center is dedicated to lead churches to new frontiers of ecumenical cooperation and social action besides providing its members a place to pursue deep reflection and dialogue on the renewal of the church and society from the ecumenical perspective. With the vision “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5) it will further the work of God’s kingdom on earth.
Rev Dr Hermen Shastri, the General Secretary of Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) expressed his gratefulness to the bishops and heads of churches and organization for their invaluable support and cooperation to the works of the Council. He also thanked the Building Board and the Property Management Committee for overseeing the construction and administration of the center.
Bishop Datuk Dr Thomas Tsen, the president of CCM said that the new center stands as a living testimony of unity among the many churches and Christian organizations working together for the glory of God.
He thanked the generous donors, individuals and congregations, from Christian philanthropies to overseas ecumenical partners, from State to Federal Governments. He reiterated the importance of churches being the salt and light of the world thereby being totally obedient to the Lord Jesus Christ.
The facilities available include function rooms, an exhibition hall, a multipurpose hall and guest rooms. Although the new center is ready for use, there remains an outstanding RM2.5 million to be paid. The total cost for the whole project is RM12 Million. Those wishing to donate to the building fund can find out more information at email: email@example.com or call the office at 03-79567092.
In conjunction with the Thanksgiving Dinner, CCM also celebrated its 65th Anniversary. CCM was inaugurated on the 9th of January 1948 as the Malayan Christian Council (MCC) and was renamed Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) in 1975.
The Council of Churches (CCM) is one of the three constituent member bodies of the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM). CCM is an ecumenical fellowship of churches and Christian organisations in Malaysia. For more information is available at its website: http://ccmalaysia.org/
What is the Ecumenical Movement?
The world’s Christians today are divided into three main groups: they are the Orthodox, Roman Catholics and the Protestants. This division occurred over the years as various groups split from the main body of believers over matters of belief and practice.
In time, these groups became established and recognized as denominations within the Christian Church. However, in the 21st Century, a movement began to seek to heal these divisions and splits. This is known as the Ecumenical Movement. It is derived from the Greek word: Oikoumene meaning “one world”.
The challenge however, is the controversial areas such as the Pope’s authority, women’s ordination, and the Eucharist (Holy Communion). These are areas of deep conviction and beliefs that are not easily resolved. It is in these areas that the work of Faith and Order is so crucial in bridging the gaps and boundaries and to help Churches come together in common unity and witness.
Reference: Excerpts are taken from Celebration & Thanksgiving Souvenir Magazine of The Council of Churches of Malaysia.
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