Church Departments Gather for Retreats Over The Long Weekend | CERC News | Christ Evangelical Reformed Church (CERC)

Church Departments Gather for Retreats Over The Long Weekend

31 May 2022

While families across Malaysia took to the roads during the 5-day long Labour Day and Hari Raya holidays, departments across CERC took the opportunity to meet up in their respective working groups in various locations all over the Klang Valley. It was a good time for department leaders to touch base with their members, and for different departments to work out how to best serve the church with their various gifts. 

On Monday, the first day of the retreat, the church met together to think and talk about how each department in church could be run in a more orderly and efficient manner so that each department could achieve its fullest potential. Departments in church range from the teams that manage weekly operations such as the Technical Support & Services (TSS) department and Food Catering Services (FCS), CERC Kids ministry to even the Accounting department. 

Over the next two days, departments met up to get down to the nitty-gritty of their ministries and operations. It was a time for the departments to confront the brutal facts of what needed improvement in the department, and at the same time, work out what the best solutions were, and to implement them immediately. 

The Accounting department retreat

Tan Wei Wen, a membership candidate, shared, “the retreat was both a sobering realisation of how we have the tendency to take the church for granted, and how the short-sightedness of our attitudes towards service to Jesus’s church affects the way we use our gifts for the church. I was also reminded of the importance of understanding the big picture, instead of just working in a silo by myself – because we are all members of one Body.”  

For Food Catering Services (FCS), practicality and training was part of their retreat. Alpha Agape, head of FCS, explained, “we spent time in the kitchen, thinking about how we as a department can provide #PengLengCheng food services at our events. We sampled simple recipes, familiarised ourselves with the equipment in the kitchen, and tried different food concepts. We also spoke about how we can improve food quality and safety, and we are now looking into the possibility of attending a food handling course.” 

#PengLengCheng is a Cantonese expression describing food that is top quality in both looks and taste while still being affordable, and is therefore – peng (“cheap”), leng (“beautiful”) and cheng (“wonderful”). 

Left: FCS department having breakfast together in the CERC Kitchen
Right: The final product for a bread pudding recipe 

Similarly, Photography department had training workshops learning how to take better photos. Samuel Yim, head of Photography, explained, “in our department, we usually need to take pictures in non-ideal lighting conditions and tight spaces. So, we got one of our team members to demonstrate the coffee making process to us while the rest of us took pictures of the entire process. We crowded around the kitchen of an apartment unit, an ideal tight space with poor lighting and we set up a camera light to understand how we can manipulate lighting. We then took pictures of the entire coffee making process and ended with a photo critique session at the end.”

Members of the Photography department taking time to appreciate coffee – all part of learning to take better photos

Samuel Yim (centre) explaining the use of different camera equipment 

On the final evening of the retreats, the church gathered again, this time for an official Sports Day at Sportizza Subang – the first of hopefully many more to come, followed by dinner at CERC Central. Having booked out the entire hall at Sportizza Subang with ample number of courts suitable for a variety of sports including futsal, basketball, and frisbee, a mixed-sport tournament ensued between departments. It was a chance for the church to showcase their athletic skills, get competitive, get some exercise, and most importantly, build camaraderie with their fellow brothers and sisters. 

Bryan Kan, a member of the organising committee for the event shared, “CERC Sports Day 2022 was such a memorable day! It’s not everyday I get to see my brothers and sisters in Christ gathered in one building just to do sports together, right from the toddlers in Sunday School up to the moms in Mums GG! As a sports enthusiast, it was pretty cool hosting so many people for multiple sports all happening concurrently; but as a Christian, it was so encouraging to see the church exercising and participating together. I knew how unfamiliar, and maybe even how uninterested, some of us feel towards sports, yet everyone participated and we all had a good time of bonding and laughing together, a fitting representation of the life all of us have been born into by God’s sovereign grace!”

Sports games from captain’s ball (top and middle left picture) to dodgeball for the kids (middle right picture), and a rare group photo after the tournaments (bottom picture)

Vania Tan, a membership candidate, also shared her excitement about the time she spent throughout the departmental retreat, including Sports Day and the meals together, “It was surreal to see the whole church gathering together after 2 years. I joined CERC during the pandemic and never got to experience physical whole church events until now. The ability and privilege to gather is not something we should ever take for granted!” 

To end a well-spent few days with the church, set meals complete with cold drinks and dessert, were catered back in CERC Central for the entire church to have dinner right after Sports Day. The church spent the rest of the evening in fellowship over food, sharing their reflections from the retreats, together with a time of corporate prayer.  

Dinner together after a fruitful long weekend with the church 

In reflection of the retreats, Joy Gan, head of Women’s Ministry said, “It was a much-needed and meaningful time for us to meet as one big ministry team. We’re continuing to work on what is needed for our department, and have created a system which will help us improve things overall. I’m looking forward to more retreats like this so that we can continue to support CERC’s ministry as a whole. May God be glorified as we serve Him faithfully and discerningly so God’s church is built up.”