Had a great day yesterday with the Filipino Methodist Fellowship of the UK. The fellowship was celebrating its 2nd Anniversary with a celebration service at Golders Green Trinity Church and very kindly asked me to be their guest preacher.
In May this year FMFU was officially recognised as a fellowship by the Methodist Connexion and Dr Lia Dong Shimada, who heads the ‘Belonging Together’ programme of the Methodist Church was one of the guests on this occasion. Previous to that I had had some reservations about the fellowship, the founding of which caused some tensions within the Filipino Methodist community. But it appears that in matters of Methodist protocol and policy all righteousness is being fulfilled. The present pastor of the congregation is Sis. Helen Tanedo, a deaconess who has been appointed Local Pastor by her Conference in the Philippines. Helen happens to be a distant relation of Mary Ann and they come from the same town.
The worship was very familiar to anyone who has attended a United Methodist church in the Philippines. The service began with a ‘praise and worship’ time led by very talented young singers and musicians – and tambourine dancers! In addition to myself three ministers participated in various parts of the liturgy. We sang ‘Love divine’ to the American tune and there were contributions by the robed choir and solo singers.
For a text I was given Psalm 100 and chose Colossians 3:11-17 as a New Testament reading. I wanted to challenge the fellowship in the sermon – Mary Ann said afterwards that I was ‘a bit direct’, which is admittedly not necessarily a good thing in Filipino culture, but I do believe that anniversary services should not just celebrate the past but also look to the future. I’ll post the sermon separately.
Unfortunately I had to miss out on the food afterwards as I had to get from Golders Green to Caledonian Road for our circuit Cafe Worship. But it was good to be part of this special occasion.