Wesley Mission > Pastoral Services > Christian Resources > Superintendent Writes

Superintendent Writes

Sunday, 14th November, 2004

This week we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the founding of the International Congregation. I am delighted to say today it is the largest multicultural congregation within the Uniting Church. I was the first Minister. When I became the Superintendent of Wesley Mission in 1979 preaching my first sermon I observed no Asian people in the congregation only white Anglo-Saxons. I announced there were 40,000 people of Chinese decent in Sydney and that over 95% of them had no contact with the Christian church. We started the Asian Christian Fellowship which met on a Friday night. I then announced shortly I would commence a church service specifically for Asian people. On a Friday night this Fellowship began to attract younger people. Mr & Mrs Adrian Schmidt and Joseph Butjor were original members of that group. We had functions called ‘COSMOS’ where we celebrated cultural diversity.

We started attracting large numbers of Tongan, Fijian, Samoan and Rotuman people from the Pacific Islands. My work grew exponentially, resulting in Rev. Peter Davis a former missionary to Fiji joining us as Associate Minister taking charge of the Pacific Island congregations. This appointment proved very successful. I invited Rev. Fartoese Avauva to head up the Pacific Island Council with a special task of establishing new congregations. He established 12 congregations in various under-used churches throughout Sydney, Canberra and some other country areas.

Rev. James Mao joined the team to translate my English sermons into Cantonese. The first people to attend were Ping and Dorothy Hui and Andrew and Mabel Hui, Shirley Wright and a few others. Rev. Foo Kain Chen with a background from Taiwan joined the team translating into Cantonese and Mandarin so that all languages were covered. Rev. Tony Chi came aboard from Singapore and Malaysia. Our Youth Ministry developed prompting me to invite Rev. Jeff Pope to concentrate on reaching English speaking Asian students from the Universities. Once again this produced very good results. To meet the needs of our Cantonese and Mandarin speaking people I invited Rev. Wilfred Chee who quickly grew this into a large, significant congregation of Chinese people who continue worshipping with us today. Dr Barry Chant now heads the work.

The irony is that in the 7pm Sunday Night Live congregation we continue to attract people with diverse backgrounds. We established an Indonesian Fellowship; Spanish speaking and a Japanese congregation. In our new Wesley Church and Theatre we installed multiple translation boxes. Regrettably that vision of multiple translations simultaneously of all services seems to have died. The work of God has grown from strength to strength in each of those congregations. Wesley Mission has become the home church of more than eight languages and two dozen cultures. It is a fore taste of heaven where people of every tribe, race and tongue will praise God. We praise God on this 25th Anniversary.


This is Gordon Moyes.

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