KOTA KINABALU (CS) – 170 participants converged for the Fellowship of Malaysian Covenant Community gathering at Kota Kinabalu on 4-6 Jul 2014, making it the largest participation since its inception two years ago.
Archbishop John Wong graced the FMCC Fellowship gathering with the Opening Eucharist and participated in the welcoming dinner on the first night, Jul 4.
The Fellowship of Malaysian Covenant Communities (FMCC), whose membership is made up of the nine covenant communities in Malaysia, was evolved from the Elders Fellowship formed from the early years to meet the need of support among the elders of the local covenant communities in the country. The nine covenant communities are spread out in the cities and towns of Kuala Lumpur, Taiping, Kuching, Sibu, Kota Kinabalu, Labuan, Sandakan, Papar and Penampang.
Undergoing a gradual evolutionary change, the annual FMCC event has included, beginning this year, the participation of both the women and youth. Its principal aim is to promote and foster fellowship among the communities and other groups of similar spirituality in Malaysia, besides encouraging networking, sharing of resources, and exchanging of experiences.
The theme for FMCC 2014, which was hosted by the Light of Jesus Christ Covenant Community, Kota Kinabalu (LJCCC), was condensed from the Apostolic Letter of Pope Francis: Evangelii Gaudium, with relevance to community, and entitled “Communities as the Vital Platform for Proclaiming the Joy of Gospel”.
Anthony Lim, the presiding elder of LJCCC and who was subsequently elected as Chairman of FMCC, in delivering the only talk for the occasion based on the theme, dwelled into the aspects of the danger of being robbed of community. Drawing from Evangelii Gaudium he warned that community, in its ability to provide for the greater possibility for encounter and solidarity for everyone and an ideal platform for evangelization, is therefore irreplaceable.
He continued to stress that community, when preserving society as “salt and light”, bears constant witness in new ways of living together in fidelity to the gospel.
He also warned of the other imminent danger of being robbed of the idea of fraternal love. The witness and sign of a genuine fraternal love is able to offer a radiant and attractive witness of communion through caring for one another and in the accompanying of each other.
In conclusion, Lim provided a roadmap for living out the call of an evangelizing community based on what he called it the “5 marks of an evangelizing community” (as exhorted by Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium, No 24):
An evangelizing community is one who
1. Knows that God has taken the initiative and that he has loved us first. Because of this, it has endless desire to show mercy, the fruit of its own experience of the power of the Father’s infinite mercy.
2. Gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives. It bridges distances, it is willing to abase itself and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others.
3. Is supportive, standing by people at every step of the way, no matter how difficult or lengthy.
4. Is always concerned with fruit because God wants it to be fruitful. It cares for the grain and does not grow impatient at the weeds.
5. Is filled with joy. It knows how to rejoice always. It celebrates every small victory, every step forward, and even in difficulty.
The event also saw the gift of youth to the Church. The youth across the different communities got together for the first time and organized a Youth Praise Rally on the second night. The synergy flow from this joint effort images a future Church steeped with great hope and vibrancy, fueled by the fresh breath of the Holy Spirit.