Lake Park UMC Sponsors Training for Khmer Leadership Development

November 20, 2014

About ninety United Methodists from five Khmer language churches in the California-Nevada Conference gathered for a leadership development training on October 25 at Central UMC in Stockton.  In early 2014 the UMC General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) awarded Lake Park UMC in Oakland a $10,000 grant to provide Leadership Development Trainings to the Cambodian or Khmer (pronounced “Kah-Mai”) speaking United Methodist Churches and Fellowships in the California-Nevada Annual Conference.
The main purpose of the Khmer Leadership Development grant is to make disciples of Christ for the transformation of the world.  The secondary purpose of the grant is to strengthen and empower the Cambodian churches within the Conference by offering trainings to pastors and laity.  In addition this grant will provide opportunities for fellowship and community building.  All workshop ideas have originated from a planning team consisting of Khmer church leaders, as well as the Rev. John Oda, pastor at Lake Park UMC and the grant administrator.
Savanna Thaing, a lay leader from the Cambodian Congregation at Point Pleasant UMC opened the October 25 training with a prayer.  The Rev Viseth Hou provided a workshop on the History of Christianity. The Rev. Vathanak Heang, pastor of Santa Clara UMC, led the final workshop on the key elements of worship for United Methodists.
Chantha Yos, Lay Leader at Bayside Cambodian Fellowship in Alameda who has been active in helping to organize all of the trainings says, “This Khmer Leadership Grant instructs the Cambodian communities on what it means to be a United Methodist.  Many of us are coming from other denominations like Baptist.  We are learning a lot.”
The final event for the year will be a Cambodian Outreach Festival to be held at Santa Clara UMC on December 27, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Pastor Vathanak Heang, Pastor Santa Clara UMC, says “The December 27th Outreach Festival will be an evangelism tool to reach out to the Silicon Valley Cambodian community.  Our hope is to launch a new church where they can come and feel at home.  So far we have three big families who are new and are interested in this new church start. There are a lot of Cambodians there.”   The event will not only include worship but also traditional Cambodian food, games for kids.  The organizers plan to have at least 100 in attendance.
For more information contact:
Chantha Yos, Lay Leader
Bayside Fellowship in Alameda
Vathanak Heang, Pastor
Santa Clara UMC
Rev. John Oda, Pastor
Lake Park UMC