I was invited to a Worship Training Retreat for Thai clergy, pastors and their worship teams from various congregations across Thailand. It was held during the Songkran Festival holidays from 12th to 14th April at Banchang, which is about 2-3 hours drive from Bangkok. We were joined by Earnest and Mingli from SJSM. They are no strangers to us as they have ministered in MPCC before.
We explored topics like the history of singing and music in the Church and various Anglican worship distinctives like the use of the Book of Common Prayer to guide our daily and Sunday worship. Most of the retreatants are familiar with contemporary worship and this retreat is to help them to appreciate the place of liturgy in shaping and framing our worship life.
The team from Singapore were also blessed and it was a learning experience to hear how the various churches plan their worship services. They have their own cultural and language diversity. Some of them are from rural tribal culture and this means there is a measure of illiteracy. The place and relevance of an Anglican Prayer Book is something that evolves differently in each parish even as they seek to have something in common in their worship life as Thai Anglican churches. It was a privilege to see how the Thai churches have been growing and maturing.
The Anglican liturgy certainly helped them to connect with how the Church has been worshipping as she traverses through so many different cultures and languages down through the ages. So you have a Karen Church on the western border of Thailand. As they worship and read Scriptures, they also connect with the worldwide Church in “time and space.” We share something in common even through we use different languages and tunes. I will write more on this at other times but there is certainly much to reflect on, learn and appreciate as we encounter the richness in the Body of Christ, beyond our own culture.
We also enjoyed the way they celebrated the Songkran Water festival. We prayed blessings over each other and some of us got wet of course!
I will insert some photos here to give you a sense of what we have experienced.
WITH OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS FROM MESOT AND OMKOI.
REVD YORD AND PAS MAN
Songkran PRAYER BLESSINGS