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「宣道會」這名字，你知道其意思嗎？當我翻查《大英百科全書》，開首便如此說：「宣道會，是宣教與福音的運動（missionary and evangelistic movement），由宣信創立 ⋯⋯」1 這解釋相當正確，宣道會是宣信牧師（Rev. A. B. Simpson）1887 年創立的，最初是兩個分別推動靈命進深與宣教運動的組織，目標是要把福音傳至未得之民、未得之地，十年後二者合而為一，成為「宣道會」（The Christian and Missionary Alliance），以集中與加強相關推動。起初，宣信按此舉辦的聚會，主要在主日下午舉行，目的讓不同宗派的弟兄姊妹參與，而不影響自己主日早上的教會生活。故此，我們本來不是甚麼宗派，只是一個跨宗派的運動。及至 1974 年，「宣道會」方正式在文件上承認自己是一個宗派。
1. 譯自 https://www.britannica.com/topic/Christian-and-Missionary-Alliance
How the Name “C&MA” Came About
Rev Kinia Ng
My name has been changed twice since my birth. The first change happened to the Chinese first name on my birth certificate. It was changed from “Yin” to “Lin” because the original name was not preferred. When in primary school, the last name on my birth certificate was also changed from “Wong” to “Ng” to align with my father’s last name in English. The original English surname was a mistake. Name changes on birth certificates had to be affirmed by a statement under oath. We provided that for the change. But my father’s last name in English appears strange to many as it does not adopt the usual translation. So since then, I have received countless queries on my last name “Ng”. Each time my reply is that it is because my family is from Fujian. So, names to me are a complicated experience, which would also stir up considerable curiosity. What is the story of your name? How do you feel about it? In fact, you and I do share a name, which is “Christian and Missionary Alliance” (C&MA).
“Christian and Missionary Alliance” - Do you know what the name stands for? I flipped open the Encyclopedia Britannica, and it says up front: “Christian and Missionary Alliance, missionary and evangelistic movement that developed from the work of Albert B Simpson….” The explanation is accurate. The C&MA was founded in 1887 by Rev A B Simpson. It emerged as two organizations engaged in advocating deeper spiritual life and mission movements respectively with the objective of spreading the gospel to unreached lands and peoples. Ten years on, the two merged to become The Christian and Missionary Alliance for better focus and synergy for mutual promotion of the movements. The initial meetings were mostly held on Sunday afternoon to allow for participation by brothers and sisters of various denominations without disrupting their Sunday morning schedules. As such, we did not start out to be a denomination, but an inter-denominational movement. It was not until 1974 that C&MA declares itself a denomination in writing.
What are the similarities and differences between a denomination and a movement? They can both have their own convictions. But the former sets up its own churches, with its own congregation and organizational structure. The latter is cross-community, and serves to mobilize. We started out as a movement and ended up as a denomination. That is our history. To many, such history may not be important. Moreover, most of us only happen to be in North Point Alliance Church. Nevertheless, can we ask God: “Why did You set up this body in the first place? And why did You lead me into this big family? Can I, and how do I, sustain the initial spirit of the movement?”
For me, I like my original Chinese first name, which means burn. May the Lord set our lives on fire so we can light up others’ lives and live out the initial spirit of the C&MA movement. “Evangelism” is the main focus of the proclamation in our sermons for this quarter. May God help us and revive us so, together, we will practice and be committed to evangelism and the gospel mission!