Our delegates from MCC Quezon City, Oliver and John Paul, are providing us with live updates from Amplify 2013 in Hong Kong. Here is what they have to say on their first day. Credits to Greg of MCC Metro Baguio for the photos.
We just wrapped up Day 1. Pastor Kakay was right, everyone should have been here. The first day was spiritually enriching and uplifting. The conference kick-off concert was electrifying. God was in everyone’s hearts. Oliver and I are blessed to be with other MCC delegates from the Philippines: Pastor Edgar, Rajah and Jessmark from MCC Makati. Pastor Myke and Greg from MCC Baguio. Also with us is Cesar Patrick Bonales of Ekklesia Tou Theou (Church of God) based in Cavite.
AMPLIFY ’13 All-Asia ‘Open and Affirming’ Church+Life Conference is here! Live. Love. Lead. is this year’s theme. Hong Kong once again is the host and we truly are grateful to the Hospitality Team, led by the Blessed Minority Christian Church and Pastor Gary Chan of Free Community Church (MCC-Singapore), for taking care of us here.
More than 70 people gathered for the Pre-Conference Leadership Retreat. Rev. Dr. Patrick Cheng talked about Sin and Grace in Queer Congregations. Sin is when you turn away from God, grace is when you run towards God. What struck me was the sin of “hiding” as opposed to the grace of resurrection. Rev. Patrick explained the Seven Models of the Queer Christ: Erotic, Out, Liberator, Transgressive, Self-Loving, Interconnected and Hybrid. Interesting part was when participants were asked which models of Christ they related the most and the least, the responses were almost equally distributed. This means people have many concepts about Christ, depending on their context.
Next input from Dr. Cindi Love who hailed from Abilene, Texas (the 3rd most conservative town in America). Her son’s coming out helped her to come out after 40 years. She shared her understanding of those afraid to come out, because she herself was afraid to come out initially because of what it can entail her family, her kids and her partner Sue. Rev. Cindi challenged us to come out for Christ. Church leaders must have a growth mindset, not a goal mindset. An act of leadership is to be truthful to yourself, and to those you cherish the most. So is to serve and to love. Serving is leading our fellow sisters and brothers towards our best interest, which is the Peace that passes all understanding. Our homework from Rev. Cindi is this: Wear the belt of truth by confessing to ourselves, consciously ridding ourselves of stigma by making a commitment to stop labeling people. Ephesians 2:14 “…the purpose of Jesus was to take down the barrier, the dividing wall between them and us.”
The last part of the Pre-Conference Retreat was the Panel Discussion. Rev. Patrick and Rev. Cindi were joined by Rev. Miak of FCC, Anthony Venn-Brown, and Rev. Silas Wong of BMCF. My favorite quote: “Find your own cultural expression of Jesus.” (Anthony)
Friday night, June 7, was the official conference kick-off of Amplify ’13. More than 150 Church leaders, workers and friends all together to give praise to God, the Christ that nurtures, embraces and heals. Almost a dozen countries are here (Hong Kong-China, China PR, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, USA, Canada). It is also the 1st time to have large delegation from mainland China.
May God be honored and be praised as we continue learning and having fellowship with each other. Looking forward to another fruitful and inspiring day today!
Written by John Paul Andaquig.