Where do we go from here?
The year 2010 was a tumultuous year for the TBC (Togetherness in Building a Caring) Community. which was formed after the forced division of the Taman Senangan Basic Ecclesial Community(BEC). The special BEC meeting with the Parish priest (PP on 23 June 2010 at Mr. Jeremiah’s home paved the way for the division of the BEC which led to the subsequent formation of the TBC on 22 July 2010.There were many attempts on our part to reunite but there was fierce opposition from certain quarters, including the PP himself, who was adamant on dividing the BEC for reasons only best known to him.
When all attempts to reunify failed and reconciliation was not possible anymore it was decided to form another group and continue our activities until the PP recognizes it as the new BEC.There was consensus among us that we adopt an attitude of “let’s move on” with our activities without any hatred or vengeance towards our friends who had left us after years of living together as a family. We should not let those setbacks deter us from doing the right thing.
It was with that determination we decided to carry on, calling our group as Togetherness in Building a Caring (TBC) Community. The main purpose of the TBC was to continue the activities of the BEC before it; to forge closer rapport among the members and carry out charitable and spiritual deeds for those in need in our midst.
Since its formation the members of the TBC continued to strive to make their TBC a great success and a force to be reckoned. We were met with many obstacles including from those who wanted to sabotage us.Attempts were made to break up the new group by many backhand tactics. There was a lot of negative publicity of the group, which was branded as rebellious, unchristian and even deviationist. The TBCwas branded as an illegal BEC by none other than the PP himself and forbidden to even pray for the sick in their midst. We just could not understand how prayers can be illegal even if it comes from a sinner.
During this period of being in the wilderness we had managed to forge tremendous closeness among ourselves in facing the many challenges that came our way. We continue to cherish pleasant memories of the numerous meetings we had to reassure, console and inspire one another after each blow we received during the peak of the crisis that followed the division of the BEC.The unyielding bonds that developed among the members during that period were unbelievable. It was a really a scintillating experience that made us realize who our real friends were.
Nevertheless with the guidance from God, we succeeded to emerge from the crisis without having to resort to hate and revenge. We managed to hold onto the basic principle of our faith, to love even those who go against us. Looking back now we realize it was a period of great trials and tribulations that provided useful lessons for us in our own lives which we really appreciate.
Despite all the setbacks we managed to successfully carry out a number of activities with very limited knowledge, experience, manpower and resources which came as a surprise to us all. Some of the activities were as follows:
1. Numerous fellowships – countless, hosted by all members in their homes at very short notice.
2. Merdeka prayers & dinner on 30 August 2010.It was a great success with about 100 people attending despite a ban being imposed by the PP as it was declared an illegal gathering. A special prayer for the nation and our BEC was offered
3. Meeting withanew PPC members on 16 September 2010.Themeeting was indeed a success as it fulfilled the aims of forging bettermutual understanding and dispelling the suspicion of the TBC among the PPC members who had been given a bad picture of the TBC.
We understand the obstacles the PPC members had to overcome to be present with us, the very people whose interests they are to uphold. We hope we can have more such sessions and establish a culture of dialogue and consultation in dealing with all our problems.
An appeal letter was handed to them with the hope it will be circulated among their colleagues before their first PPC meeting. The TBC is of the view that the PPC being the representatives of the parishioners, it must uphold their interests at all times and not succumb to the short term interests of the PPs who come and go.
4. Prayers for the sick – Prayers for Aunty Adeline and Aunty June Chin were conducted in their homes. In addition to that aunty June was also visited several times at her home and the hospital by our members who offered to console and encourage her in her fight against terminal cancer.
Anniversary prayers for the late Mr.Francis was also held at the home of his widow,Mrs Mary Francis.
5. Surprise birthday bash for heads of families – Dr.Chris, Bernard, Lawrence.We hope to have more such functions in the coming months.
6. Rosary in month of October 2010 – all families opened their homes. All Mondays and Thursdays were fully taken up. Some families could not be covered due to the lack of time.
7. Support for Greg and family in their new ventures – for Greg’s success at his economy food outlet and then at his new job in Kuala Lumpur
8. Visit to orphanage and the Christmas cum charity dinner with children from Shan’s Home which was the pinnacle of all our efforts.
9. Christmas cum charity dinner with children from Shan’s Home . With very limited manpower and resources at our disposal and with all the setbacks we managed to forge closer fellowship among us that brought us our grand success in organizing the
Christmas cum Charity dinner for the children from Shan’s Home on 18 December 2010.It was a great success where we managed to attract more than 200 generous people of various races and faiths to participate and raised more than RM5,000.00 to be donated to the SCH.
10. Christmas house-house caroling was a great success so was the TBC Christmas fellowship that followed on 21 December 2010 in Winson’s house.
The way forward
At a private meeting with PP on 5 January 2011, I urged him to recognize our TBC as a legitimate BEC as I felt is the only way to get out of the impasse of our BEC.
Unfortunately our PP did not appear to be agreeable to the suggestion at the present moment. Therefore we are back to where we started after the BEC division in June 2010.Where do we go from here?
It is time for us to stop basking in the glory of our successes and get down working to provide our service to those in need in keeping with the teachings of Jesus. Let us continue with what we have been doing since the formation of our TBC to bring a little cheer to those around us as laid down in our plans for 2011which we discussed at our meeting on 15 January 2011 in Winson’s house to celebrate Pongal (See attached plans).
Over the last couple of weeks there have been many over enthusiastic suggestions of fund raising and big projects but we must be careful not to be carried away by our recent success of the SCH project, to undertake tasks beyond our capabilities. We should not take the closeness we had created among us for granted but continue to nourish it further. The most important asset we have now is the close-rapport among the members which we should continue to nourish in order to succeed further in helping others. We must continue to be a closed group and must be extremely careful in admitting others who may want to join us.
We must bear in mind the limitations under which we operate – lack of manpower and resources. We are not corporate players but a small group of people united in the love of Christ to go out to serve fellow men and women who are in need. We need not do great things but small things with great love as mother Teresa put it. So let us go forth in the small ways that we are used to and with the little funds we have and touch the hearts of the few people that we encounter.
Plans for 2011
1. Charitable acts – visit to poor,visit to sick,visit to the elderly
2.Two-monthly meeting/get together – strengthen our fellowship and evaluate our plans
3. Spiritual activities – prayers, rosary, special needs – sickness,death,exams
4. Rosary months– May & October
5. Lent& Easter – to organize a visit and an old folk’s home or orphange
6. Christmas celebrations as usual
7. Family activities – trips,games,health walk
8. Educational programmes– medical talks, finance talks, legal talks,Will-writing
9. Major project for the year if any
10.Fund for TBC – to pay for charitable acts
Monthly collection – any amount
Other fund raising projects – e.g.Treasure hunt,etc
In the meantime let us continue to pray that the Holy Spirit will enlighten our PP to see the sincerity of our actions and recognise our group as a legitimate BEC.Let us not not give up hope but continue to strive in our attempts to build His Kingdom here among us.