At a day retreat for deacons and fellow pastors I attended recently, there was a very meaningful group activity, which included three parts:
- Identifying a certain corner of the church with clues from pictures provided and then the entire group went and take a picture to verify the place. We found that if we had not paid special attention, these places could be really hard to find.
- Identifying locations from precious photographs of the old and new church premises before recounting our experiences at NPAC. Some of the places were there before the Main Church was renovated but they no longer exist now. Some others were venues at Winner House. Due to the shortage of space at that time, even the quarters of Rev Hu Qin and Rev Gordon Siu were used as classrooms for Sunday School.
- The last part was the most touching. Participants shared their growth stories at NPAC. One participant was among the returnees from overseas studies and came to know about NPAC’s initiative that welcomed believers returning to Hong Kong to attend meetings at NPAC. Several young adult fellowships with similar backgrounds were also set up, where members served and grew. Another participant shared about the pleasant surprise of meeting a pastor of the former church he attended at NPAC, who became a voluntary pastor here. As for me, I was baptized during the time at Winner. At that time, there was a long, narrow baptismal pool right behind the podium. One of the two pool entrances was a small room connected to the kitchen, which also served as a nursery room on Sunday. I had served there. The young adult fellowship I attended also met there and so I feel deeply for the place. The other entrance to the baptismal pool was connected to the Side Hall-cum-Library, which used to be the pastoral offices. In ordinary times, the pool would be filled with miscellaneous items with a wooden plank in the middle connecting the two exits. Walking on the plank felt like parkour.
The sight of these places reminded me of the pastoring I received, and a host of people and events that had built me up came back to mind. One of them was Rev Hung Kwai Fong who, in the young adult fellowship I attended, offered me much help in personal growth. Rev Siu illuminated me when I was a seminarian, helping me to resolve the struggle between living out one’s true self and becoming a role model of witnessing as a pastor. The deacons who were humble and faithful in deliberations also set good examples…. The NPAC family today carries with it the fruit of the faithful service and hard work of generations of pastors and spiritual leaders. It is now time for a new generation to take up the baton. Are you ready for it?
I was reminded of 1 Kings 19:9-18 in which the LORD asked Elijah twice: “What are you doing here?” After that, God encouraged and comforted him, and asked him to anoint Elisha to succeed him as prophet. I am grateful to God for His guidance whereby I have received the nurturing from pastors, deacons and leaders of the NPAC family. I therefore greatly support the new generation to take the helm. What nurturing have you received at the NPAC family? In what ways are you willing to let God use you so as to continue to help others in the NPAC family to grow?
(After the day retreat, we came up with the idea of making an activity kit for NPAC’s 70thAnniversary with reference to the three-part activity above. It will be available on loan to fellowships and small groups from August.)