The 5th module of the AGST MTh(Ed) program was held at the Bible College of Malaysia. Finding my way there from Bangsar station was simple and it was a treat to have a comfortable and spacious apartment all to myself. Pastor Benedict Muthusamy, my good friend was supposed to be my roomate, but he withdrew from the course at the last moment, and I was left all alone but I was not complaining. The solitude was strangely pleasant.
The college was having a trimester break so it was quiet and we had to eat out for all our meals. Turn right and walk for 10 minutes and you have a row of shops with the famous Raju restaurant. Several meals, both breakfasts of roti chanai and thosai, as well as banana leaf lunches and dinner were had here as well as at Kanna Curry which was nearer, just a 3 minutes walk to the left of the college entrance. No more Indian food for me for a few months. Another famous restaurant was the Ipoh Ngah Chai Chicken, and its neighbour coffeeshop which sold exactly the same stuff but cheaper.No more chicken rice for me in the next few months. After a week, I felt great empathy for the grumbling Israelites wandering in the wilderness for 40 years on a highly restricted menu.
It was an enriching learning experience for me as the lecturer Dr Perry Shaw guided us through a wealth of materials to equip us in “Building formative faith communities”. Arthur Brown began with a theological basis for community rooted in the Trinity. From that theological base, Dr Perry Shaw continued to build an understanding of the self; group dynamics; hidden curriculum; form and meaning; understanding church culture and its interaction with the community; and the dynamics of change. The unfamiliar material which employs tools from social sciences, social psychology, and anthropology was challenging but fresh. It gave us an introduction to tools by which new insights and perspectives could be gained when we intentionally build faith communities.
It was lovely to see the same batch of students and to renew acquaintances with them. In addition, I met an old classmate of Tung Ling Bible School, a short term training I did in 1979. His name was Derrick Chong. It was such a pleasure to catch up with him.