The Annual Congregational Meeting and the Tabitha Effect

As provided for by our Constitution, we will be holding our ACM on this Lord’s Day, April 21, 2013. The relevant articles in our Church Constitution stipulate that, “The Annual Congregational Meeting for the transaction of business pertaining to the Church shall be held by April of each year. At such Meeting the Church Session shall report on the spiritual and temporal conditions of the congregation and announce plans for the coming year.” “Plans for the coming year” are reflected in the Proposed Budget, which specifically delineates the resources that are planned to be allocated for specific activities, programmes and ministries, that is, the plans for the coming year. As such, the Budget is a statement of intent concerning the plans.

I would not hesitate to add a reminder for you: Only you – the voting communicant members of the congregation in good and regular standing – have the power and responsibility to review and approve these “plans for the coming year.” At this ACM you will also be exercising your prerogative to vote in leaders to serve you in the Church. All the leaders standing for election this time are standing for re-election for new terms and we thank God for their dedication and desire to continue to serve the body of Christ here. Therefore, without any hesitation, I urge you to come and pray and vote for these elders and deacons to continue to minister to you.

Interestingly, this Lord’s Day is the third from the recent Easter Sunday on which we commemorated our Lord’s resurrection. For me, the church today is all about living in the power of the resurrection. This new and unprecedented power to live the new life is prominently captured by Luke in Holy Scripture and demonstrated in the early narratives of the Book the Acts. I’d like to call this the “Tabitha Effect”.

For example, in Acts chapter 9, we see the unlikely conversion of Saul, the dreaded and feared persecutor of the early Church, into its most prominent defender and proponent. And then there was Peter, who became God’s agent of miraculous healings along the Mediterranean Coast. Two stories are told at the end of chapter 9 which uniquely demonstrate the power of God in the world.

The first is that of a man named Aeneas, who though paralyzed and bedridden for eight years, is completely healed by Peter. The second is that of a female disciple by the name of Tabitha. As a full-fledged disciple, she is described as “full of good works and acts of charity” – precisely the same attribute will be used for Cornelius, the famous Gentile convert of chapter 10.

Those two examples, Aeneas and Tabitha are proof that the power of the resurrection has come upon us. Luke didn’t hesitate to add the effect of this power on the early Church, he wrote, “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.”

As we come to yet another milestone in our history, let us open ourselves to this power.

Pastor Robert Chew