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The Methodist Church in Singapore

Vol 115 No 7

July 2013

ISSN 0129-6868

www.methodistmessage.com

MCI (P) 172/02/2013

Aldersgate Hymn Festival 2013

Inside this issue:

Called together at Aldersgate, by God’s grace

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Methodist Festival Choir Singers, please sign up!

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Bishop’s Message Revelations about revivals

By Tong Hoo Ing „ Pictures by Daniel Lie

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WSCS at HVMC A new “little flock”

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Global Day of Prayer 2013 Volunteer Andrea Low shares her reflections

The congregation: United in voice and action, even in something as small as sharing a songbook.

ATTENDING THE ALDERSGATE HYMN FESTIVAL this year brought a thought to my mind: “I am proud to be a Methodist!” Yes, I am proud to be a third-generation Methodist, one of 40,000 in our small island. We had humble beginnings: a Town Hall meeting conducted by the Rev James M. Thoburn and the Rev William F. Oldham on February 8, 1885. Now, on May 26 this year, the large sanctuary of Paya Lebar Methodist Church was filled to capacity by Methodists from all walks of life, called to come together by God’s grace. This year’s Aldersgate Hymn Festival celebrated the 275th Anniversary of John Wesley’s “heart-warming experience” at Aldersgate Street. Its theme was “Called Together by His Grace”, and was based on Galatians 5:22-23. The Rev John Wesley, a son of Anglican priest Samuel Wesley, was primarily a preacher, teacher and organiser. His teachings all had scriptural basis. He and his brother, Charles, studied at Oxford University and gathered round them groups of disciplined students who prayed and studied the Bible; hence they were nicknamed “Methodists”. The influence of the Wesley brothers on

The combined children’s choir from the three Annual Conferences was a visible reminder of our oneness in Christ through their different coloured gowns.

our way of worship could be seen in the festival programme, which took the form of a church’s “Order of Worship”. There were prayers and dramatised Scripture readings, interspersed with the singing of hymns composed by Charles Wesley as well as other modern hymns. The congregation participated in singing several of the hymns. The festival was organised by the Methodist School of Music (MSM) headed by Dr Evelyn Lim, and was crafted by Ms Judith LaoyanMosomos of MSM. It featured a combined choir from the three Annual Conferences under the baton of Mrs Wong Lai Foon, with Dr Evelyn Lim at the organ, Mr Samuel King at the piano and the small Festival Orchestra and MSM Handbell Ringers in attendance. The evening began with an instrumental prelude by the guitar maestro, Mr Ernest Kwok. He played “How Great Thou Art”, an inspiring hymn, beautifully using the fingerstyle technique. Bishop Dr Wee Boon Hup opened the festival with words of welcome, followed by the rousing introit “Rejoice, The Lord is King” sung by the Festival Choir. See Page 17

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My grandson “I ASKed, God answered” by Rev Dr Kang Ho Soon

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Tell me, Pastor “Being Methodist”, part two

10 Eagles: A Methodist Legacy The story of the Eagles ministry by Michael Tan

12 Agape Methodist Church A “shelter” for seekers in Jurong

19 Residence@ St. George’s turns one A year of transforming lives


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METHODIST MESSAGE, JULY 2013

COMING UP

Flip the pages of MM on the go… anywhere! METHODIST MESSAGE (MM) is now available in PDF format, which means it’ll be easier than ever to read MM on the go, wherever you are. Plus, there’s the added bonus of flipping the pages of MM, with the new page-flipping software that can be accessed through your home desktop, laptop and Android devices. Just about the only platform that this won’t work is on your iOS devices – sorry about that, but we hope that Apple will get round this one day! Only devices that support Flash software will be able to use this feature. Go to www.methodist.org, and click on the MM icon to the right of the home page. If you prefer to read selected articles in HTML format, these remain available.

TRANSITIONS

New Principal for MSM MR YEO TECK BENG has been appointed the Acting Principal of the Methodist School of Music (MSM) with effect from July 1, 2013. Mr Yeo responded to God’s call to join the Christian music ministry after a long career in the fabrication industry. He worships and serves at Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church, and is also Vice-Chairman (Liturgy) of the Chinese Annual Conference Board of Worship and Music.

Singers, come join the Methodist Festival Choir! By Evelyn Lim „ Methodist School of Music pictures CALLING ALL SINGERS interested in sacred music! Join the Methodist Festival Choir (MFC), a new choral entity starting in August 2013. Christians (and in particular, Methodists) who are able to read musical notes, sing on pitch, and commit to most of the scheduled rehearsals are invited to sign up. Rehearsals will typically be held on Tuesdays from 7.30 pm to 10.00 pm at the Methodist Centre, 70 Barker Road. Vocal placement sessions for assessment of vocal colour and range will take place on July 9 and July 16 (choose one) from 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm. Interested? Please contact Ms Alpia Carolasan or Ms Margaret Mok at 6767-5258 or email msm@msmusic.edu.sg The debut season of the MFC will run from August 20 to the first week of December. The repertoire for 2013 will comprise Advent and Christmas anthems, to be accompanied by an instrumental ensemble, organ and piano. The MFC aims to provide a platform for fellow Methodists to sing together and to have fellowship and support one another in the music ministry. The choir will sing at major Methodist events and present at least one major public concert a year. Organised by the Methodist School of Music (MSM), the choir will be conducted by Mrs Wong Lai Foon. Mrs Wong is known in the local music scene as the conductor of the Singapore Symphony Children’s Chorus. She is married to the Rev Dr Gordon Wong, the President of Trinity Annual Conference. Mrs Judith Laoyan-Mosomos, who heads the Church Music and Liturgy division at MSM, will serve as the Artistic Director. The idea for the choral project is in fact not entirely new, and may be seen as a regeneration of the defunct United Methodist Choir (UMC) from the 1980s. The UMC was headed by Mr

William Zimmerman, and began life as a college choir made up of students at Trinity Theological College. Its reputation soon attracted Methodists from within the community, and as an expanded ensemble, the UMC performed sacred music in the public arena such as the Victoria Concert Hall. The choir disbanded in the late 1980s upon Mr Zimmerman’s retirement and return to his homeland in the United States of America. With choral tradition fast disappearing from our local churches, fellow Methodists now feel it timely to restore choral singing as an avenue for singing our faith, and to promote it as a form of community outreach. Dr Evelyn Lim is the Vice-Principal (Musical Arts) of the Methodist School of Music.

The former United Methodist Choir started by Mr William Zimmerman in Singapore in the 1980s.


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BISHOP’S MESSAGE BISHOP

The Bishop Writes DR WEE BOON HUP

Revelations about revivals

IF YOU ARE SOMEONE who is very keen on advocating revival today, I wonder whether you are aware of what that might say about you and your church. When we call for revival, we are saying that something is not right with the spiritual state of the church. A body needs revival only when it is sick or dying, if it is not already dead – in this latter case, what we really need then is a resurrection! So if you are calling for revival, are you saying then that your church is in such a state? You are saying that whatever your pastor, leaders, ministry staff, Sunday School teachers, cell leaders, etcetera are doing have not amounted to much. They have done such a miserable job that the Body is dying. Theoretically, if our church discipleship programme is working, then there is no need to call for revival. By Jesus’ own definition, a disciple is willing to deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23). A disciple is also someone who continues in His teaching (John 8:31) and who glorifies God by bearing much fruit (John 15:8). This is not the picture of someone in need of revival. When we call for a revival, we are saying that our discipleship programme, if we have any at all, has failed. If this is so, then moving into a revival will not solve our problem. Suppose a revival does come (and that is not something we can trigger at the push of a button). People are saved. Believers are stirred up in their spirit. Then what? They must move on to maturity. But spiritual maturity does not happen during a revival; it comes about through discipleship. If we do not have a process of discipleship in place, we will always be depending on revivals. Their impact however is only short-term.

For a discipleship programme to be successful, we have to work hard. Understanding the various levels of maturity of our members, drawing up a curriculum that is suitable for the variety of needs, preparing the teaching material, the actual teaching and implementation of the plans, evaluating whether all the above are actually working as planned – all these require diligence and discipline. Even when we have all of the above in place, they might not work if we only depend on our efforts, as if we are running a secular school. The principal, teacher and primary motivator for the success of such an operation is the Holy Spirit. We can have a proper set-up in place and (falsely) believe that if we have the processes working properly, we will produce disciples. In so doing, we might trust more in the process than in the Person who is the only one who can really transform anyone. So when we call for a revival, it might simply be our own perception that we are in need of it. Very often it is a personal perspective. But that may not actually be a view of what the reality is. Is revival what we really need? If we say so, is that really true of the whole church? Or is it only a segment of the people? Are we willing through the Spirit to work with others, to bring about transformation by bringing our people through discipleship? Or are we seeking a short-term quick-fix in a revival? You see, when you call for a revival you are revealing more of who you are, and what you are thinking, than what may be the real spiritual state of your church. Picture by Martin Fischer/Bigstock.com


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+SH´W³PMXXPI¾SGO´WIXWYT;7'7EX ,SPPERH:MPPEKI1' By Eunice Yeo OUR CHURCH AT HOLLAND VILLAGE was constituted about a year ago. Our membership stood at 132, and it was easy to think that “perhaps it is better to wait till we are bigger” before starting a Women’s Society of Christian Service (WSCS) chapter in Holland Village Methodist Church (HVMC). Yet, the Lord showed me Luke 12:32, where Jesus said, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” The tender tone of Jesus in these words “little flock” reassured me that we are His little flock. And so this was how the 36th chapter of the WSCS came to be inaugurated on April 20 at HVMC this year. We are indeed a “little flock” – 37 members have come forward to join the WSCS at our church since the inauguration which was conducted by Ms Daisy Pang, President of the Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC) WSCS. It was witnessed by guests such as Ms Dorothy Lim, the General Conference WSCS President, and Mrs Laureen Ong, East Asia Area President of the World Federation of Methodist and World Uniting Church Women. Also present were members of the HVMC LCEC and members of other WSCS chapters. There was such an air of joy and excitement as the chapter was formed and a sense of a new beginning prevailed. Indeed the Lord has been faithful to His promise that we are his “little flock” regardless of numbers and size. Evolving the Women’s Ministry into WSCS had been on our minds ever since HVMC was inaugurated on July 8 last year. In the past four years, the Women’s Ministry served actively in Bible study groups and the floral ministry. Many women were also involved in the outreach work of HVMC in the neighbourhood through the Methodist Welfare Services “Walk With the Poor” programme. Being part of the local church

ministry, however, did not connect us to the rest of the good work that other Methodist women were involved in. I was an active member of the TRAC WSCS Executive Committee and the GC WSCS Executive Committee, and in my years there, I discovered a new perspective. While I served at the local church level only, it was easy not to sense the need to be part of the WSCS network. The The newly-formed executive committee of the HVMC WSCS. Front row, from left: Mrs Angelene Tay, Mrs Eunice Yeo, and experience I had serving Mrs Hazel Vicente. Back row, from left: Mrs Chew Hui Peng, at different levels of the Mrs Peggy Lee, Mrs Koh Ai Jin, and Mrs Ang Siew Kim. WSCS ministry showed – Holland Village Methodist Church picture. me there was a special a very successful conference that moved sisterhood of Methodist women across many women. The presence of the Lord Singapore who love our Lord Jesus was strong and many women were Christ. encouraged. I discovered the diversity of talents I was convinced that the network and personalities in the 35 chapters of Methodist women is vital to the scale united by a common vision of bringing of impact of our ministry. I made many women closer to God. This network had good friends with sisters of the other 35 existed for decades and through the years chapters, and we received encouragement the leaders have grown more united and and help from them in setting up our effective in their leadership training and chapter. outreach. Other WSCS chapters helped train Attending the different WSCS our ladies in floral ministry. The WSCS activities, I also realised the huge potential in Barker Road Methodist Church, our of this unity in numbers. “mother church”, was supportive and In 2011, TRAC WSCS attempted allowed us to ride on their activities such the unprecedented effort of organising a as cooking workshops, jewellery beading nationwide conference for all Christian classes and God@Work sessions. women called “Awake! Abide! Arise!” We now have a wide network of There was trepidation in the organising sisters from the Methodist Church to rely committee over our limited resources on. We can be bolder for God in our tasks being enough for such an ambitious and our work in the harvest fi eld can be plan. shared. They booked a hall for 500 persons We pray with a humble heart that and had an overwhelming response of God will truly and tenderly lead our little over 600 registrants. The committee was fl ock at HVMC, and that the women small in number but they were able to may help to grow God’s kingdom. count on their network of sisters. The WSCS of the Chinese Annual Eunice Yeo is President of the Women’s Conference (CAC) and Emmanuel Society of Christian Service in Holland Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC) came Village Methodist Church. forward to help, and the end result was


METHODIST MESSAGE, JULY 2013

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

*MVWXPSZIERH½VWXJIEV REV DR

GORDON WONG

Says The T RAC President

I’ve got a place in the University I wanted! Hallelujah! But – oh dear! Can I cope? Will the standard be too high for me? I am afraid… I’ve been laid off… And when I try to get new work, they say I’m ´RYHUTXDOLÀHGµ1RERG\ZDQWVPH:KDWVKDOO,GR",DPDIUDLG« I’ve been offered a great job in a great organisation. I am ecstatic, but... Can I cope with the demands and expectations? Will I last? I am afraid…

LIFE SEEMS TO BE a journey from one fear to another. Even when we receive good news, we are afraid that the goodness will soon turn bad. The people in Isaiah’s day were also afraid. In panic, they cried out, “It’s a conspiracy!” Is someone conspiring to make your life difficult? You may even feel that your Christian colleagues are against you! Listen to God’s advice through Isaiah 8:12-13. “Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, He is the one you are to fear, He is the one you are to dread.” Jesus says a similar thing. “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)

“Do not fear what they fear… God is the one you are to fear.” Perhaps this is the reason why life for most of us seems to be a journey from one fear to the next – we live in a world that does not fear God. He who does not fear God ends up fearing everything else! But both Isaiah and Jesus suggest that those who fear God need fear nothing else. The secret to fearlessness is not to adopt a Stoical attitude, or still less a care-free, happy-go-lucky-I-couldn’t-care-less-aboutanything attitude to life or death. No. The secret to fearlessness is to cultivate a deeper fear: the fear of God. Or as Paul in Romans 8:31 puts it: If God is for us, never mind who is against! Let God be not only our first love, but also our first and only fear. The Rev Dr Gordon Wong is the President of Trinity Annual Conference.

The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) is a connectional church comprising the General Conference, three Annual Conferences, local churches, and various agencies and organisations. The General Conference (GC) is the highest body of the MCS, responsible for legislation, policy, and the oversight of its various agencies, including the programme agencies responsible for education, missions, and welfare services.

DIRECTOR, FINANCE, ADMINISTRATION AND PROGRAMMES DESIGNATE

A key position, reporting to the General Conference Executive Council (GCEC) and Finance and Administration Council (FAC) through their respective chairmen. Job responsibilities

Job requirements

• Review strategies, policies and programmes, relating to the Finance, Property Investments, HR, and Admin functions; • Set up reporting protocols and communication flow between the GCEC/FAC and all programme agencies, and organise regular coordinating forums of the programme agencies; • Facilitate administrative and financial policies of the GCEC/FAC that involve the programme agencies; • Develop staff functions to deliver economies of scale e.g. human resource development and deployment, training, computerisation and information technology, property management, finance and investments; • Enhance managerial and administrative support for the work of the GC, its agencies and elected leaders and volunteers; and • Provide direct oversight of Finance, HR and Administration, and Property Department, and staff in the smaller agencies.

• Strong academic credentials are necessary. • Experience in policy formulation, institutional growth and agency development will be helpful. • Strong interpersonal skills, with ability to communicate effectively across many levels of committees headed by clergy and laity. • At least 10 years’ experience in leadership positions in church or para-church organisations in the area of Finance and Investments including Property Investments, Administration, Human Resource and Information Technology.

Salary This is a key position within the General Conference Office of the MCS, and salary will commensurate with experience.

Application This position will require a mature and committed Christian with clear convictions about the work of the Church.

Please send your resume and a recent photo by Monday, 12 August 2013, to “The HR Manager, The Methodist Church in Singapore, 70 Barker Road, #03-01, Methodist Centre, Singapore 309936” or email hr@methodist.org.sg

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YOU & YOUR FAMILY

8LIGSRJYWMRKEVXSJ GSQQYRMGEXMSR By Benny Bong THESE DAYS, it is becoming harder to know exactly what people mean when they communicate. An illustration of this was when a property agent proudly pointed out the special “pocket view” of the apartment we were viewing. It was one of the assets and selling points for that apartment. Try as I might, it was difficult to experience this view. It was then that I realised a “pocket view” meant a limited or an obscured view. The phrase went far beyond the proverb of “making a virtue out of a necessity” and elevated it to an art form. I say “art form”, as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What appears as cluttered housing to one is clustered housing to another. As a Family and Marital Therapist, paying attention to what is said and taking care in communicating clearly are important aspects of my work. Oftentimes, clients come with their declared problems as the breakdown in communication. Signs of this are when parties stop openly communicating or their communication draws an unexpected hostile response. You may have noticed I said “parties stop openly communicating”, and in doing so, I want to also say that it is impossible to not communicate. Silence is also a form of communication. But it is an unclear form as it could mean a whole host of things. An exasperated husband tired of the continuous rounds of arguments over the slightest thing decided to be silent and withdrawn. His wife interpreted her husband’s action as a form of retaliation and giving her the silent treatment. As she looked forward all day to his return from work, she found it especially hurtful that he ignored her needs. On the other hand, the husband took this approach with a totally different purpose in mind. He wanted to stop their arguments from escalating further. He had experienced himself becoming violent and had broken things in the house to vent his anger. Unfortunately, the wellintentioned silence fuelled more conflict. Had they attempted to communicate more openly, perhaps they could have avoided this added grief. Another example of how a lack of open communication can keep people apart was a case I was consulted about recently. It involved a teenager who was placed in a Girls’ Home for her protection. She was deemed by the authorities to be in Moral Danger. This meant that she was at risk of being sexually exploited by others. Her family was also assessed to be unable to control her as she ran away from home several times. These circumstances are

common with many known cases, but in this situation, the girl came from a well-todo family of professionals and she herself was a well-performing student from a good school. After several months of stay, the Welfare Officers began the process of preparing her for her eventual return to her family. The girl surprised everyone by saying that she was not ready to go home. When asked why, she again surprised us by saying that there were too many rules at home. The irony was that she found the restrictive environment in the Girls’ Home more acceptable than the restrictions placed on her at her family’s home. This view was strenuously denied by family members. After some probing, the deeper message was that she felt she could not meet the expectations of her family, so instead of disappointing them, she would rather not go home. What was initially understood as her continued defiance and rejection of her family was really actions borne out of her deep sense of insecurity and hurts from past rejection from her family. I wondered: What made it so hard for her to tell her family these feelings? And also, what did the family do that made them appear to be people that were so difficult to appease? On the topic of communicating clearly, the Bible reminds us of two important principles. This is encapsulated in the phrase “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). The first principle is to be truthful. We are not to be deceitful or fearful to speak the truth. The second is to have an attitude of valuing the person to whom you are addressing. Speaking truthfully is not permission to be blunt and hurtful. For communication to be effective, it requires another very important ingredient. It requires a person to listen at the other end. Not pretending to listen or listening simply to find ways to counter-attack, but listening intently. The Chinese character for the English word “listen” contains the symbols that are associated with the eye, ear, and heart. It implies giving one your undivided attention. Therefore to truly listen to someone, it involves listening not only with one’s ears, but also observing the non-verbal aspect of the message communicated. To do this effectively, we give the speaker our undivided attention and a heart that is open to understanding. Perhaps if we put these ideas to practice, our communication will not be so confusing.


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92-8=-2',6-78 +PSFEP(E]SJ4VE]IV

+(348S[EVHWEYRMXIHREXMSR XS[EVHWEJEQMP]MR'LVMWX By Andrea Low Q Pictures by Bethel Assembly of God

7KHÀYHSUD\HUOHDGHUVUHSUHVHQWLQJGLIIHUHQWDJHJURXSVDQGOLIHVWDJHV (from left): Mr Daniel Koh, Ms Sherry Teo, Mr Timothy Kim, Ms Janey Chan, and Ms Tan Geok Lian.

“SINGAPORE IS IN A CRITICAL PERIOD OF TRANSITION”, reads a recent news headline. This rings true, as whether we fly or fall is dependent on government, leaders, businesses and citizens all doing their part. As Christians, we can passively sit back and find cracks to criticise, or take responsibility and proactively work with fellow Singaporeans to contribute positive actions and add Kingdom value to the national process of transformation. Global Day of Prayer (GDOP) is a platform for Christians to make a difference, taking up God’s calling to be salt and light, to come back to our core values of humility, unity and prayer as one people called by His name. Held yearly on Pentecost Sunday, it is an opportunity to commemorate what happened more than 2,000 years ago as recorded in Acts 2, where the people all gathered in one place and experienced being filled with the Holy Spirit for the very first time in history. This year, GDOP was held on May 19, in satellite locations across Singapore and in seven languages including English, Mandarin, Filipino, Indian dialect, Korean, Burmese and Thai. Services were held in churches of different denominations with one common purpose: to come together as people of Christ to pray and intercede for the nation of Singapore. I was participating at Bethel Assembly of God, one of the 17 churches in Singapore that hosted this international, interdenominational prayer meeting. The timing of the service was 7.14 pm, which is in line with the key verse for this movement, 2 Chronicles 7:14. This year’s focus was on the family and it was wonderful to see an intergenerational attendance at the service, from children to adults and the elderly. A highlight of the service was when five church members were invited to lead the congregation in a prayer segment. There was a child to represent the children of Singapore, a youth, a young adult, an adult and an elderly, all representing their

respective age groups and life stages. Prayers were heard all over the sanctuary, in both English and Mandarin, interceding for the issues faced by each demographic. Led by the pastors of Bethel Assembly and other churches, the congregation also prayed for the restoration of the family unit structure, for godly marriages to prevail, for parents and for children. As a people of God, we also gave thanks to God for his extravagant love and unfailing ways. At the end, the focus turned to praying for a generation that fears the Lord, and for revival as we approached the Singapore’s Year of Jubilee. The Holy Spirit was truly present as we gathered to pray, just as the Scripture says in Romans 8:26-27 that “the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans… the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God”. Through the event, I was personally reminded that prayer is a discipline, one that we must set a proper time and place aside for, to seek God and listen for His voice. I was also reminded that prayer is a privilege; God has chosen us as His people to be able to hear from Him, and also to be a bridge to connect others to Jesus. This was the 13th GDOP since its humble beginnings in 2000 when a South African businessman, Mr Graham Power, received an impression from God based on the Scripture verse 2 Chronicles 7:14. “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Today, this remains the theme verse for events held under the GDOP umbrella across more than 220 nations globally. In Singapore, the vision is clear: through the local church, the aim of GDOP is to broaden and deepen prayer participation, so that come Jubilee Year 2015, the nationwide church of Singapore will be equipped from the ground up for the biggest prayer gathering and celebration ever held in one venue. GDOP will return on June 8 next year. Mark your calendars for a great opportunity to come together as the body of Christ, and intercede for the Pastor John Goh of Bethel Assembly nation we call home! of God in passionate prayer.


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HOME

My Grandson

-%7/IH+SHERW[IVIH By Kang Ho Soon IN LUKE 11:9-10, Jesus says: “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” This particular saying of Jesus has taken on a special meaning for my family and I as we weathered a crisis in our lives, which I would like to share with you. Some of you have met my first grandson Joel. Many have been praying for him, “asking, seeking and knocking” on his behalf. Joel was born seven years ago, in 2006, as a special child with many disabilities. Today, he is still unable to speak and to walk on his own. He spent the first year of his life in hospital. When he was critically ill, I baptised him in the hospital ward in the presence of family members, godparents and loved ones. He was christened “Joel Jiang Huai En”. “Joel” is a Hebrew name which means “the Lord is God”. His parents chose this name to affirm their faith in God. “Huai En” is his Chinese name which means “in the embrace of grace” or “in the bosom of grace”. His parents want to be reminded that Joel’s existence is by God’s all-encompassing grace. The baptism service was short and simple, but a moving one for all. I began by recounting Joel’s journey in life. When he was a threemonth-old foetus in his mother’s womb, the scan showed that his heart was severely defective.

The news was announced to the couple on Maundy Thursday. From Maundy Thursday night right through to Easter Sunday, his parents and extended family agonised and prayed for wisdom in their decision-making – whether to bring him to full term. We were “asking, seeking and knocking” at the door of God’s heart. On Easter Sunday, the young couple was worshipping at Kampong Kapor Methodist Church. As they sang the hymn “Because He Lives”, their hearts were comforted and they decided to follow God’s will for Joel – to bring him into this world. Joel was born on August 26, 2006. His prognosis was not good – he was not expected to live as his defective heart would not be able to sustain his existence. On September 1, just one week after birth, he underwent open heart surgery. On October 11, he was discharged from Kandang Kerbau Women’s and Children’s Hospital after spending the first 46 days of his life in the hospital. However, on December 10, Joel was re-admitted to the hospital. Four days later, he had two angioplasties done to his tiny heart. He was scheduled for another major surgery on February 28, 2007 to fix his heart problem once and for all. But because of intermittent fever, the surgery was postponed.

The four generations of the Rev Dr Kang Ho Soon’s family. The Rev Dr Kang is on the extreme right. His grandson Joel is pictured near the top, in a red t-shirt with blue hemming. – Picture by the Rev Dr Kang Ho Soon.

As I recounted Joel’s earthly journey during the baptism service, our eyes and hearts were filled with tears. After the baptism service, I invited everyone to join me in singing “Jesus Loves Me”, a song which I had been singing to him since the day he was born. As soon as the singing began, Joel gave a big smile. He seemed to recognise the song and like it. Joel has ushered my family and me into a profound experience with God. For me, I entered into an intense conversation with God which invariably touched my inner being. In my daily visit, as I prayed silently with Joel, and watched his fragile tiny finger clinging to mine, tears just flowed freely and spontaneously. I agonised in prayer and shed tears in the privacy of my office and during my early morning quiet time. On one occasion, as I was holding Joel in my arms in the hospital ward, accompanied by my daughter-in-law and her mother, I could not hold back my silent tears. They saw what was taking place and quietly moved out of the room in order to give me space to commune with God once more. On another occasion, when Pat, my personal secretary in the church office, learned that Joel was going for yet another open heart surgery, she asked me how I was taking it. Immediately tears just flowed down my cheeks. She understood my need for a quiet cry and contemplation. I asked… I sought… and I knocked… in the presence of God. I told God what was in my heart. But did God respond? Yes, He did! I was reminded again and again that my God is good and His way is perfect. My Father in Heaven will give me “good gifts”. He knows best. I asked for an understanding of God’s way of handling Joel’s condition; I sought for God’s will to be revealed in every decision we have to make regarding Joel; I knocked at the door of God’s heart, desiring to know His plan for Joel in order that we may be faithful servants in carrying out God’s will for Joel’s fragile life here on earth. See Facing Page


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TELL ME, PASTOR It’s been written about, preached, and discussed many times over.Yet some of us are still a little uncertain about what it means to be a Methodist. Methodist Message decided to pose candid questions to the Rev Dr Daniel Koh to get a clearer idea in simple language. This is the second of a two-part series.

Being Methodist By Daniel Koh Kah Soon JOHN WESLEY TAUGHT on the “way of salvation”. Can you explain briefly what this is? According to Wesleyan scholar, Ted A. Campbell, Wesley’s “way of salvation” is another “unique” Methodist doctrinal teaching. It refers to the process of spiritual journey in the life of Christians. Broadly speaking, the process covers three dimensions of God’s grace at work in the life of a person: prevenient grace, justifying grace, and sanctifying grace.

Hang on – what’s “prevenient grace”? Before a person becomes a Christian, we see God’s prevenient grace – sometimes also referred to as “preparing” or “preventing” grace – at work in that person’s life, wooing and prompting that person to respond to God’s outreaching love. When the person decides to accept God’s gift of salvation through Christ, we say that that person aided by God’s prevenient grace has now responded to God’s love by faith. Prevenient grace convicts a person of the need for repentance of sins, and the realisation that we are not able to save ourselves except through Christ Jesus.

I see. So what’s “sanctifying grace”? Every Christian has access to God’s spiritual resources to be energised and enabled by God’s sanctifying grace. This is the grace which plants greater desire and deeper conviction in a Christian for that Christian to follow the teachings and moral vision of God’s Kingdom. The evidence of God’s sanctifying grace at work in a person is the transformation of that person’s life over a period of time.

Thanks for helping me to appreciate these three aspects of God’s grace. But I have also heard of “entire sanctification”. What is this? Entire sanctification is a term used to describe another “unique” teaching of John Wesley called “Christian Perfection”. Echoing Jesus Christ’s counsel, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48), Wesley believed that we can be perfect in this world.

That seems unattainable. Can it really be possible?

Okay, then what’s “justifying grace”? When a person’s repentance is followed by acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Saviour, that is the point when a person is said to have experienced God’s justifying grace. This is an important teaching reminding us that salvation is a gift from God and not something we obtain by merit or through good works.

So good works do not count for Christians? I would not put it like that. To be sure, good works, commendable as they are, do not count for obtaining salvation. This is very clearly stated in Ephesians 2:8 and 9. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Yet good works are critical evidence of someone who says he or she has become a Christian. Good works, post-conversion, are the visible fruit of sanctifying grace at work in forming and transforming a Christian life.

This Wesleyan teaching of perfection does not refer to a person who has become sinless. The process of sanctification, as I often say, is to remind us that we have been called to sin less and not to be sinless which is impossible in this fallen world. Nevertheless, Christian perfection or entire sanctification is attainable if we, with the help of God’s sanctifying grace working in our lives, aim for perfection in our love for God and our neighbours.

Thank you, Pastor! The Rev Dr Daniel Koh Kah Soon is a Methodist pastor with more than 30 years of ministry. He is a full-time lecturer at Trinity Theological College, where he teaches Christian Ethics, Pastoral Theology and Methodism. He is married to the Rev Dianna Khoo, also a Methodist minister.

From Page 8

In my search for God’s response, I came across a quotation by the famous early 20th Century Scottish Bible teacher, Oswald Chambers, which I would like to share with you. “The whole point of asking …….is not in getting what we want, but in knowing what God wants. …….is not in getting our way,

but in following God’s way. ……..is not in having our will, but in doing God’s will.” Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Ask… Seek… Knock. String the first alphabets of these three active words

together, and you get “A… S… K”, which forms the word “ASK”. And so, be bold to ASK God for something in your life, and see how He reveals His will and His way to you in your life. The Rev Dr Kang Ho Soon is a Pastor at Trinity Methodist Church, where he shared this testimony in a sermon on March 17, 2013.


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Eagles Communications… A Methodist legacy By Michael Tan Q Pictures by Eagles Communications IN 1968, A SMALL BAND of students from the Anglo-Chinese Secondary School at Barker Road rummaged at a construction site and came upon a metal “E” lying amid the debris. Taking the discovery as a sign, they decided to call themselves “The Eagles,” a symbol of power, ferocity, and rebellion, which they felt captured their self-image. But the group was about to undergo a seismic shift that none of them could have foreseen. On May 10 of that year, the Eagles’ leader, a burly and bespectacled 14-year-old named Peter Chao, found himself drawn to an unusual programme presented by his school’s Christian Fellowship. Peter was drawn to the programme which featured a Chinese soloist singing Negro spirituals. While it was his interest in music that was the magnet which drew him in, Peter came away from the concert with far more. Following the performance, a Christian student leader at the Anglo-Chinese School preached, propounding the unorthodox doctrine that non-Christians would become cockroaches in their next life! Despite its fanciful nature, the message staggered the impressionable teen. “I don’t want to be reincarnated as a cockroach!” he thought, shuddering at the idea. This moment became his epiphany, and Peter Chao converted to Christianity that very day. He preached the same message to his “gang” and the Eagles became a Christian group. As the 1960s gave way to the new decade, the Eagles found themselves at a crossroad: 1970 was the year when most of the group had their ‘O’ Level examinations. Filled with thoughts of their uncertain future, the Eagles gathered for an end-of-year Bible camp. A handful of the boys responded positively to the challenge to serve God full-time at that camp – among them Peter Chao, John Ng, William Tang, and Michael Tan. Filled with new-found zeal, Eagles Evangelism was their first name when the organisation was registered in 1977. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the Eagles were known for their evangelistic concerts,

The registration counter at the previous Eagles Leadership Conference (ELC) in 2011. This year’s ELC will be held July 25-27 at Suntec Singapore. – Eagles Communications picture.

dramas and rallies held in churches as well as public auditoriums. Their passion was to share Christ, strengthen the Church, and serve the Community. Various ministries evolved as a result – discipleship conferences and seminars, and a counselling ministry that became the present Eagles Mediation and Counselling Centre. Presently, Eagles also provides a Bible study ministry called Eagles Rendezvous that meets for four cycles of seven Saturdays each year. The Eagles VantagePoint, a bimonthly magazine produced by the organisation, addresses the needs and concerns of Church and Society with articles by international as well as local thought-leaders, writers and speakers. At the beginning of the 1990s, the organisation’s name was changed to Eagles Communications to reflect the broader ministry thrust and reach, especially to religiously-sensitive countries. The Eagles Leadership Institute was

also established to nurture and equip leaders in Church and the Marketplace. The Eagles Leadership Conferences and the Eagles Emerging Leader Development Programme are the current core programmes for leadership training. More than 100 young leaders from Asia, the United States of America (USA), and Australia have undergone the emerging leader development training. The biennial Eagles Leadership Conferences attract over 1,500 participants from more than 20 countries. Eagles staff are theologically trained people, executives and project managers as well as a pool of volunteers who participate in ministries and programmes according to their gifts and passions. As a not-for-profit organisation, Eagles is supported by churches and individuals who share their vision to touch and transform lives. Christians across churches and denominations are welcome to volunteer and

participate in Eagles’ various ministries. Many converts from Eagles’ programmes have gone forward to serve as pastors and church leaders, including the current Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Singapore, the Right Rev Terry Kee. Eagles Communications was born and bred in Singapore and remains a Singapore-based organisation working with partner churches, business and civic organizations in Asia and the USA. What motivated the Eagles in 1968 was their evangelistic fervour. As Founder-President Peter Chao recalls, “We were so enthused in our newfound faith that we could not help but share Christ with fellow students in school. “On weekends, we went door-to-door persuading dwellers in high-rise apartments to receive Christ into their hearts. During school vacations, we pitched tents on the beach and shared Christ with campers all week. Nothing was more exciting than to pray with someone to receive Christ!” Forty-five years down the road, it is the same excitement that propels the Eagles to be innovative, relevant and effective in sharing the Gospel and challenging their audiences to make a response to the claims of Christ. The expressions and programmes have evolved to meet the challenges of the changing decades, but the overall purpose remains true to their original calling. Indeed, their vision is summed up by this motto: “True To Life”. It articulates their mission to “seek to genuinely live and creatively share the authentic, transforming experience of grace and truth in God”. One of the new initiatives for the future is the Eagles Proclamation and Persuasion Institute that will be set up to equip and empower preachers, evangelists, and teachers of the Word for Asia. And all this started in a Methodist-aided school in Singapore. Michael Tan is a founding member of Eagles Communications and is currently its Executive VicePresident.

THE MINISTRIES OF COMMUNICATIONS Eagles Leadership Institute (ELI) Where you can grow leaders in a changing world We build Kingdom-minded and God-centred leaders for Church and the Marketplace through leadership conferences, retreats, and mentoring programs with international speakers and thought-leaders as well as nurturing emerging leaders for the future.

Eagles VantagePoint Magazine Where you can get insights to life’s issues We address issues relevant to family, career, ministry, counselling, discipleship and leadership, and present insights and ideas for transformation of life and mind.

togather.sg Where you can make a difference in the marketplace We seek to connect with Christian working adults to provide networking, mentoring support and resources to empower them to impact their workplace with the Gospel.

Eagles Rendezvous Where you can experience the Word We build up Christians and their faith through interactive, applicable, and insightful study of the Bible. In a year, there are four cycles of seven studies each.

Eagles Oasis Retreats Where you can be refreshed spiritually We seek to help Christians and their families be refreshed, renewed and realigned to God’s purpose through inspiring messages, experiential learning, and meaningful fellowship and prayer support.

Eagles Persuasion and Proclamation Institute Where you can be empowered to proclaim the Gospel and persuade decisions convincingly We seek to enable, equip, and empower emerging and existing preachers, evangelists, Bible teachers, and speakers to proclaim the Word effectively and poignantly.

True to Life Foundation Thailand Where you can impact the next generation We work in partnership with indigenous peoples in Thailand to create and provide learning facilities and opportunities for their children for their personal development, as well as for the future well-being of their communities. Contact: Eagles Communications 166 Bukit Merah Central, #04-3531 Eagles Centre Singapore 150166 Tel: (65) 6419-5252 Fax: (65) 6419-5253 Email: admin@eagles.org.sg Website: www.eagles.org.sg


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Eagles Communications… A Methodist legacy By Michael Tan Q Pictures by Eagles Communications IN 1968, A SMALL BAND of students from the Anglo-Chinese Secondary School at Barker Road rummaged at a construction site and came upon a metal “E” lying amid the debris. Taking the discovery as a sign, they decided to call themselves “The Eagles,” a symbol of power, ferocity, and rebellion, which they felt captured their self-image. But the group was about to undergo a seismic shift that none of them could have foreseen. On May 10 of that year, the Eagles’ leader, a burly and bespectacled 14-year-old named Peter Chao, found himself drawn to an unusual programme presented by his school’s Christian Fellowship. Peter was drawn to the programme which featured a Chinese soloist singing Negro spirituals. While it was his interest in music that was the magnet which drew him in, Peter came away from the concert with far more. Following the performance, a Christian student leader at the Anglo-Chinese School preached, propounding the unorthodox doctrine that non-Christians would become cockroaches in their next life! Despite its fanciful nature, the message staggered the impressionable teen. “I don’t want to be reincarnated as a cockroach!” he thought, shuddering at the idea. This moment became his epiphany, and Peter Chao converted to Christianity that very day. He preached the same message to his “gang” and the Eagles became a Christian group. As the 1960s gave way to the new decade, the Eagles found themselves at a crossroad: 1970 was the year when most of the group had their ‘O’ Level examinations. Filled with thoughts of their uncertain future, the Eagles gathered for an end-of-year Bible camp. A handful of the boys responded positively to the challenge to serve God full-time at that camp – among them Peter Chao, John Ng, William Tang, and Michael Tan. Filled with new-found zeal, Eagles Evangelism was their first name when the organisation was registered in 1977. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the Eagles were known for their evangelistic concerts,

The registration counter at the previous Eagles Leadership Conference (ELC) in 2011. This year’s ELC will be held July 25-27 at Suntec Singapore. – Eagles Communications picture.

dramas and rallies held in churches as well as public auditoriums. Their passion was to share Christ, strengthen the Church, and serve the Community. Various ministries evolved as a result – discipleship conferences and seminars, and a counselling ministry that became the present Eagles Mediation and Counselling Centre. Presently, Eagles also provides a Bible study ministry called Eagles Rendezvous that meets for four cycles of seven Saturdays each year. The Eagles VantagePoint, a bimonthly magazine produced by the organisation, addresses the needs and concerns of Church and Society with articles by international as well as local thought-leaders, writers and speakers. At the beginning of the 1990s, the organisation’s name was changed to Eagles Communications to reflect the broader ministry thrust and reach, especially to religiously-sensitive countries. The Eagles Leadership Institute was

also established to nurture and equip leaders in Church and the Marketplace. The Eagles Leadership Conferences and the Eagles Emerging Leader Development Programme are the current core programmes for leadership training. More than 100 young leaders from Asia, the United States of America (USA), and Australia have undergone the emerging leader development training. The biennial Eagles Leadership Conferences attract over 1,500 participants from more than 20 countries. Eagles staff are theologically trained people, executives and project managers as well as a pool of volunteers who participate in ministries and programmes according to their gifts and passions. As a not-for-profit organisation, Eagles is supported by churches and individuals who share their vision to touch and transform lives. Christians across churches and denominations are welcome to volunteer and

participate in Eagles’ various ministries. Many converts from Eagles’ programmes have gone forward to serve as pastors and church leaders, including the current Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Singapore, the Right Rev Terry Kee. Eagles Communications was born and bred in Singapore and remains a Singapore-based organisation working with partner churches, business and civic organizations in Asia and the USA. What motivated the Eagles in 1968 was their evangelistic fervour. As Founder-President Peter Chao recalls, “We were so enthused in our newfound faith that we could not help but share Christ with fellow students in school. “On weekends, we went door-to-door persuading dwellers in high-rise apartments to receive Christ into their hearts. During school vacations, we pitched tents on the beach and shared Christ with campers all week. Nothing was more exciting than to pray with someone to receive Christ!” Forty-five years down the road, it is the same excitement that propels the Eagles to be innovative, relevant and effective in sharing the Gospel and challenging their audiences to make a response to the claims of Christ. The expressions and programmes have evolved to meet the challenges of the changing decades, but the overall purpose remains true to their original calling. Indeed, their vision is summed up by this motto: “True To Life”. It articulates their mission to “seek to genuinely live and creatively share the authentic, transforming experience of grace and truth in God”. One of the new initiatives for the future is the Eagles Proclamation and Persuasion Institute that will be set up to equip and empower preachers, evangelists, and teachers of the Word for Asia. And all this started in a Methodist-aided school in Singapore. Michael Tan is a founding member of Eagles Communications and is currently its Executive VicePresident.

THE MINISTRIES OF COMMUNICATIONS Eagles Leadership Institute (ELI) Where you can grow leaders in a changing world We build Kingdom-minded and God-centred leaders for Church and the Marketplace through leadership conferences, retreats, and mentoring programs with international speakers and thought-leaders as well as nurturing emerging leaders for the future.

Eagles VantagePoint Magazine Where you can get insights to life’s issues We address issues relevant to family, career, ministry, counselling, discipleship and leadership, and present insights and ideas for transformation of life and mind.

togather.sg Where you can make a difference in the marketplace We seek to connect with Christian working adults to provide networking, mentoring support and resources to empower them to impact their workplace with the Gospel.

Eagles Rendezvous Where you can experience the Word We build up Christians and their faith through interactive, applicable, and insightful study of the Bible. In a year, there are four cycles of seven studies each.

Eagles Oasis Retreats Where you can be refreshed spiritually We seek to help Christians and their families be refreshed, renewed and realigned to God’s purpose through inspiring messages, experiential learning, and meaningful fellowship and prayer support.

Eagles Persuasion and Proclamation Institute Where you can be empowered to proclaim the Gospel and persuade decisions convincingly We seek to enable, equip, and empower emerging and existing preachers, evangelists, Bible teachers, and speakers to proclaim the Word effectively and poignantly.

True to Life Foundation Thailand Where you can impact the next generation We work in partnership with indigenous peoples in Thailand to create and provide learning facilities and opportunities for their children for their personal development, as well as for the future well-being of their communities. Contact: Eagles Communications 166 Bukit Merah Central, #04-3531 Eagles Centre Singapore 150166 Tel: (65) 6419-5252 Fax: (65) 6419-5253 Email: admin@eagles.org.sg Website: www.eagles.org.sg


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METHODIST MESSAGE, JULY 2013

HOME ;IGSRXMRYISYVRI[WIVMIWSJTVS½PMRKPSGEPGLYVGLIWJVSQSYVXLVII%RRYEP'SRJIVIRGIWSJ8LI 1IXLSHMWX'LYVGLMR7MRKETSVI%W[IGSQIXSLEZIEFIXXIVYRHIVWXERHMRKSJIEGLSXLIV´WLMWXSV]ERH ministry, there may be opportunity to forge cross-church partnerships and collaborations.

%KETI1'E³WLIPXIV´JSV WIIOIVWMR.YVSRK By Vincent Goh Q Pictures by Agape Methodist Church Agape Methodist Church (Trinity Annual Conference) 8LI%KETI=YRK,S6SEH 7YRHE]WIVZMGIWEQ )RKPMWL EQ )RKPMWLERH1ERHEVMR 'SRXEGXSVIRUYMV]$EKETIQGSVKWK A BOMB SHELTER is not a place where you would normally find a church. Yet that was where Agape Methodist Church (AMC) met when we were a fledgling congregation of 30. Although we have our own building today, “shelter” is still an apt metaphor for how our church ministers to the population of Jurong and its surrounding areas. The choice of Jurong as a location was not by chance, but after a careful consideration of the fact that it was the secondlargest housing estate in Singapore then, with a population of 260,000 people. And being such a large area with very few churches and no Methodist church, the harvest was indeed plentiful. We could provide a spiritual “shelter” for seekers to meet the saving grace of Jesus and to grow as a loving family in Christ. In the 1980s, Mr Vincent Lee, one of our pioneers who had been involved in Grassroots Ministry through Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC), caught the vision of reaching the bluecollar Mandarin-speaking workers in the community. With the blessing of the Rev Malcolm Tan, then the Pastor-inCharge of Faith Methodist Church, a group of Mandarin-speaking church members began to meet regularly in fellowship to start this outreach initiative. One of the tasks that they undertook was to reach out to the paper box factory workers in the Lengkok Bahru area by helping out at the cell group ministries in the factories. In a very short time, the Grassroots Ministry was founded, which later became the Mandarin congregation of Jurong Preaching Point, as we were then known. We initially met in the home of one of our members known affectionately as Aunty Nancy. Later, we conducted our services at a bomb shelter in

AMC’s “100% Shop” is a community outreach program where people donate items in good condition for needy people to pick items from that shop at 100 per cent discount (free of charge).

Jurong. Even with a congregation of 30, we were packed to the doorsteps of the small bomb shelter. The children had to occupy a storeroom with little ventilation, so we had to bring along a bulky portable air conditioner every week. The stoic congregation continued to meet under such adverse conditions. Lakeside Family Centre was started in 1993 as AMC’s community outreach centre serving the disadvantaged in Jurong. It was a place of both physical and psychological shelter as we helped strengthen families through education, counselling, and financial support. On December 6, 1998, the congregation had their first services in the Golden Village cinemas in Jurong Point. Initially, only two cinema halls were used – one for the Mandarin congregation and the other for the English congregation – while the children’s ministry made use of Kidsports, a play gym for children. AMC was eventually constituted as the 20th Local Conference of TRAC of The Methodist Church in Singapore on December 4, 2005. Today, it is located at The Agape, 21 Yung Ho Road (in Taman Jurong). Our congregation has grown from 23 adults and 12 children in the early days to an average total attendance of 300 in our five services today. The church continues to focus on its mission of “Discipling All Persons to Christ-likeness”. The church serves financially needy families in the community through the “100% Shop” where donated items and rations are given out freely. A worship service for Chinese nationals is conducted every Sunday evening to minister to mainland Chinese workers. We continue to provide a place of “shelter” or respite for Jurong residents through our regular community events and a medical clinic offered in partnership with Health Serve, which serves as a bridge to care for the community. The demographics of Taman Jurong are changing. In the 1960s it was officially known as “No Man’s Land”, consisting of a few fishing villages, prawn farms and swampy wastelands. Later, it was turned into an industrial estate. Today, many private housing estates, condominiums and HDB flats are sprouting up to cater for the growing population. There are huge opportunities for ministry and outreach before us. I am convinced that it is for such a time as this that God has placed AMC in Jurong – a shelter that shines for Christ! The Rev Vincent Goh is the Pastor-in-Charge of Agape Methodist Church since January 1, 2013.


METHODIST MESSAGE, JULY 2013

LEARNING FROM THE HERETICS

Marcionism By Roland Chia

AMIDST THE CONFUSION and chaos of the early Church’s battle against Gnosticism, there emerged the enigmatic figure of Marcion of Sinope, whose father was the Bishop of Pontus. As a young man, Marcion left Pontus and travelled extensively in Asia, before finally settling in Rome. But in AD 144, he was expelled from the Church in Rome, probably due to his heretical leanings. Marcion founded a church that sought to be a virulent antagonist to the Catholic or universal Church. According to the historical theologian Justo Gonzalez, this distinguished Marcion from other Gnostic teachers who established schools but never churches. It also made him “one of the most dangerous rivals of orthodox Christianity”. The question that vexed Marcion was how it could be possible to reconcile the God of love revealed in Jesus Christ with the God of wrath he found in the pages of the Old Testament (OT). The solution that Marcion proposed was to simply drive a wedge between the god of the OT and the benevolent Deity revealed in Christ. The god of the OT is the creator who brought this world into being, a task unworthy of the true God. This bifurcation of the God of the Scriptures in turn led Marcion to privilege the New Testament (NT) over the Old. In fact, Marcion blatantly refused to acknowledge the OT as Sacred Scriptures. Even the NT is not spared from his mutilating censorship, and is reduced to only the Gospel of Luke and the letters of Paul. Furthermore, even the bits in Luke that allude to a wrathful God were also excised. Marcion’s God is likewise relieved of all perceived contradictions like love and wrath, justice and mercy. According to Marcion, the true God is unbounded love, and He has remained hidden until He was finally revealed in Christ. But Marcion’s Christ is also not spared from his revisionist theology. Just as there are two gods, so there are two Christs: the authentic Christ is associated with the true God, while the political Messiah issued from the lesser deity, the creator. For Marcion, the authentic Christ could not possibly have taken upon himself human flesh, for that would mean that he would possess a body “stuffed with excrement”. Marcion’s metaphysical dualism that sees spirit and matter as two distinct and separate entities is

surely reminiscent of Gnostic philosophy. Even his idea of two gods – the “unknown” god over and above the creator – is common among Gnostic writers like Cerinthius and Basilides. This has led the early fathers of the Church, especially Tertullian, to conclude that Marcion was indeed a Gnostic, who promoted his own somewhat idiosyncratic version of the highly malleable and elusive heresy. But Marcion remains an enigmatic figure in the sense that there are aspects of his teaching that did not fit neatly into the Gnostic system. Marcion did not teach that salvation could only be attained through the acquisition of a secret knowledge, a dogma central to Gnostic soteriology. Neither did Marcion embrace the variegated and often bewildering mythologies, numerologies and astrologies associated with the Gnostic sects. These important differences led the influential historian of Christian thought, Adolf von Harnack, to conclude that Marcion was an original thinker who developed a unique interpretation of Christianity and its Bible. However, it is perhaps more reasonable to postulate – following Gonzalez – that Marcion promoted a form of Paulinism: a theological and religious system that is based on a peculiar and jaundiced interpretation of Paul. Be that as it may, Marcionism serves as an important reminder to the contemporary Church that the Bible must be read in its entirety. Christians should avoid Marcion’s mistake of favouring Paul over Matthew, or privileging the New Testament over the Old. Instead they should follow John Wesley, who famously insisted that “The Scripture … of the Old and New Testaments, is a most solid and precious system of divine truth. Every part thereof is worthy of God; and all together are one entire body, wherein is no defect, no excess. It is the fountain of heavenly wisdom, which they who are able to taste, prefer to all writings of men, however wise, or learned, or holy”. Background picture by Terry Evans/Bigstock.com

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WORLD METHODISM

'EPPJSVPSKSHIWMKRW st;SVPH1IXLSHMWX'SRJIVIRGI TRY YOUR HAND at designing a logo – and you could stand to win US$500 (S$630)! The World Methodist Council (WMC) is accepting submissions for the official logo of the 21st World Methodist Conference, which will be held in September 2016 in Houston, Texas. The conference theme is “One”. The logo will be translated into languages that encompass our Methodist church family, which are located in 77 countries throughout the world including The Methodist Church in Singapore. All entries must be received by July 22, 2013 and must adhere to these criteria: • The winning entry becomes the property of the WMC for its sole use and purposes, including editing, publication and distribution rights; • Each entry must include the word “One”; • Entries may be submitted in black and white or colour format. The conference logo will be used in

a variety of formats which may include forms of correspondence, posters, banners, backdrops, pins, pre-conference publicity, website, PowerPoint presentations, etc.; • Entries must include the information found on the entry form from the person(s) responsible for its design; • Entries must be submitted electronically (if sending by mail please send the media on a DVD/CD or other portable media). Multiple submissions are allowed, but please fill out one entry form per submission. Send all entries to barbybowser@ worldmethodistcouncil.org Or mail to this address (be sure that your submission is sent on a DVD, CD or other portable media): 2016 Logo Submissions c/o World Methodist Council P. O. Box 518 Lake Junaluska, NC 28745 USA

The winning submission will be announced in mid-August 2013, and will receive US$500 (S$630). To download the entry form and find more information, visit worldmethodistcouncil. org/a-call-for-submissions-2016conference-logo-designs – World Methodist Council. When the WMC organised the logo contest in 2004 for the 19th World Methodist Conference, it was a Singaporean Methodist’s design that was selected. Mr Michael Tan Soo Guan’s design was picked over more than 50 entries worldwide. See the December 2004 issue of Methodist Message to read more about his winning design. The World Methodist Conference is convened every five years. The Methodist Church in Singapore hosted the 16th World Methodist Conference in 1991 at the Westin Stamford from July 24 to 31.


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COVER STORY From Front Page

'EPPIHXSKIXLIVEX%PHIVWKEXIF]+SH´WKVEGI Each of the three components of the Festival Choir – the Chinese Annual Conference (CAC) choir, the Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC) choir, and the Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC) choir – also sang hymns in Chinese, Tamil, and English respectively. The smallest sevenmember ETAC choir gave a creditable performance, singing with gusto. Not to be outdone, the Festival Children’s Choir, accompanied by Ms Lily Wong on the piano and the MSM Ringers, raised their angelic voices and sang their hearts out with their rendition of Charles Wesley’s “Praise the Lord Who Reigns Above” and Mark Patterson’s “Lord, We Are Your People”. The instrumental rendition of “Great is Thy Faithfulness” was performed by two talented young musicians, Dr Luke Ho on the violin, and Mr Samuel King on the piano. The duo gave a virtuoso performance with Dr Ho playing with verve and heart to bring life to the lyrics of that great hymn. It was encouraging to see a youthful contemporary band from Kampong Kapor Methodist Church lead the

Pastor Benjamin Lee (left) from Faith Methodist Church and Mr Yeo Teck Beng from Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church gave a lively dramatisation of Matthew 25:31-46.

congregation in a reflective worship song, “There is an Everlasting Kindness”. Alternating between singing in English and Mandarin was no mean feat, but Ms Stefanie Mok executed it beautifully. This bilingual singing was also attempted by the congregation throughout the evening, and could have echoed Jesus’ disciples’ first experiences of speaking in tongues. The respective CAC, ETAC and TRAC Presidents, the Rev Dr Chong Chin Chung, the Rev R. Prabhu and the Rev Dr Gordon Wong, offered “Prayers of The People” before the freewill offering. The Offertory Anthem “His Grace Will Lead

Us Through” was sung solemnly and with passion by the Festival Choir. The festival came Dr Tong Hoo Ing is a to a close with Bishop volunteer with Methodist Message and worships at Dr Wee sending Wesley Methodist Church. the congregation A retired neurologist, he also volunteers with forth with words Bethany Methodist of exhortation for 1XUVLQJ+RPH God’s grace and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. What could have been more fitting than to end the day with Charles Wesley’s famous “And Can It Be”. Just as our Bishop’s heart was warmed by the Aldersgate Hymn Festival, so was my heart greatly warmed to be part of the congregation of Methodists in Singapore, called together by God’s grace. My fervent hope and prayer is that my children and grandchildren, by God’s grace and His indwelt Holy Spirit, will continue to worship God in the Methodist tradition of their forebears and, as Jesus had exhorted his disciples, “bear fruit that will last”. (John 15:16)


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MISSIONS Opening of new student hostel in Phnom Penh

*SVEFEKSJVMGIERHEJI[ HSPPEVWEQSRXL By Philip Lim and Teresa Wilborn HUCH YADA IS STUDYING Sociology at the Royal University of Phnom Penh. He stays at Joy Methodist Hostel, one of several hostels run by the coalition of churches under the Methodist Church in Cambodia (MCC) banner. He is from Kampong Thom Province, about 200km from Phnom Penh, and without proper accommodation, this 21-year-old runs the risk of not being able to study at all. His other alternative? To depend on the goodwill of relatives or friends, or worse, volunteer for a job in exchange for a place to stay. This would mean an environment that may be less secure and safe for a young vulnerable teenager, not to mention the possibility of living in a non-conducive environment for studying and homework. Often, to be able to afford paying for accommodation in a hostel, the student would have to take on a part-time job. After some time, they may end up dropping out of school altogether. Many of them come from poor families, and without the benefit of completing school or college, the cycle of poverty may be perpetuated. MCC churches have now stepped up their response to this predicament through opening affordable, safe and secure student hostels in Phnom Penh and provincial towns over the past three to four years. The newest hostel, Joy Methodist Hostel, was dedicated on January 5 this year, and is located near several universities, including the Royal University of Law and Economics. All student hostels are run autonomously by the MCC churches. Joy Methodist Hostel is supported by the Holy Mountain Methodist Church (HMCC). The Rev Yin Chhoeung, Pastor of HMCC, and the Rev Song Jin Sup, MCC Missions Superintendent, led the dedication service. The service was also attended by special guests from Singapore, including Mrs Lucy Yeo from Foochow Methodist Church (FMC) and Dr Seet Ai Mee from Aldersgate Methodist Church.

GIVE

Q to the hostel ministry in Cambodia if you can. Contact the Rev Teresa Wilborn at teresa. wilborn@gmail.com

The exterior and interior views of Joy Methodist Hostel. – Methodist Missions Society pictures.

FMC supports the hostel ministry in Cambodia. Other guests included three students who shared about how they came to know and accept Jesus Christ as Saviour after coming to live at Joy Methodist Hostel. The occasion was a joyous one, as reflected in the banner to mark the occasion, which reminded all that “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10b). The new hostel can accommodate 24 students. Houseparents Sreng and Thida, both graduates of Cambodia Methodist Bible School, provide spiritual guidance and supervision for the students. The hostelites regularly attend worship services and youth activities at HMMC. Students pay a token sum of US$5 to US$10. In addition, they bring a bag of rice (about 50 kg) from their home village as a contribution. Students do not have to be believers to be accepted into a hostel. They just need to be willing to abide by the rules and regulations, and attend all structured programmes like Bible Study. Youths who later accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour then join a church, and participate in church activities. Youths who are already believers in their village

can get a recommendation from their pastor to stay at the hostels. These hostels are an outreach project. In the more established hostels, the youths are grouped into bands and they go out to do outreach in the neighbourhood where the hostel is located. Some even travel to their home village to do outreach, bringing home not only their added skills and knowledge, but also the precious good news of the Gospel. The Rev Philip Lim is the Executive Director of the Methodist Missions Society (MMS). The Rev Teresa Wilborn is the Assistant Director of Community Development in the MMS.

PRAY

Qthat the students living in the Methodist hostels will find Jesus and grow in the Lord.


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WELFARE SERVICES

Residence@St. George’s turns one By Adeline Huang

RSG residents from the pioneer batch collaborating on a hand-painted mural at the hostel entrance, marking it as “A haven for growth and transformation”. – Methodist Welfare Services picture.

A FEW YEARS AGO, Anita’s* life was all about smoking, drinking, clubbing and gambling. Desperation for money and pressure from her ex-boyfriend led her to theft, for which she was convicted and sent to Residence@St. George’s (RSG). RSG is a girls’ hostel jointly run by Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) and the General Conference Women’s Society of Christian Service (GC WSCS). Now 20 years old, Anita writes about her rehabilitation: “Under hostel probation here at RSG, I reflected on all that I did and learnt a lot of good values. I have set realistic goals for myself; I will continue studying for my diploma in multimedia and infocommunications technology, and work part-time at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). “I am working towards being successful in life. I want to look after my parents. After all the trouble I have caused them, I believe the least I can do is to make them proud of me.” Such stories are not uncommon to RSG as it accepts girls between the ages of 16 and 21 who are mandated by the courts as part of the Probation Order, or are referred for voluntary admission by voluntary welfare agencies or parents. RSG’s mission is to provide a safe and nurturing environment where young offenders can undergo positive transformation and character development through a wide range of activities, including mentoring, sports, workshops, and group therapy. This holistic and therapeutic approach towards rehabilitation focuses on

facilitating emotional and psychological healing to build well-being, competence, and confidence. Ultimately, the aim is to help the residents re-integrate into society and bond with their families again. Since opening in April 2012, RSG has had 12 residents, with three already discharged. The holistic nurturing environment would not have been possible without the work and generosity of many hands. Ms Sujeeta Menon, Head of RSG, expresses gratitude for gifts received in this first year of operations: “We have seen the hand of God over this residence. From donations of needed items to the volunteers sent to us, we acknowledge God’s work here. We are blessed with many talented volunteers.” A total of 44 volunteers contribute regularly and frequently, in a range of different ways. On a weekly basis, this includes conducting art and music classes, engaging in sports, devotional or Biblestudy sessions, and mentoring. A noteworthy example: Volunteer Namiko Chan, who runs the Ka Lei Maile Hi’ilani Hawaiian Hula Dance School, taught the RSG girls “Worship Hula” dance weekly over the course of three months, culminating in three public and private dance performances so far – in Orchard Road’s Christmas Celebrations, at Bethany Methodist Nursing Home, and at the GC WSCS Thanksgiving Service. A total of 60 counselling sessions, 60 mentoring sessions, 20 Art Therapy sessions, and 15 Family Bonding sessions have been conducted over the past year. In their first month there, the residents undergo four value education classes and two group-work activities on a weekly basis. Ms Sujeeta also praises the resilience of her staff and their commitment to an exhaustively comprehensive reform programme for RSG’s residents. She enthuses: “We are blessed with passionate young staff willing to go the extra mile to see a life transformed!” Still, RSG experiences many challenges daily and will continue to face them in days to come. Ms Sujeeta shares: “The girls who come to us have had many negative mindset-shaping or value-shaping

experiences in their lives. “It takes a lot of coaching, therapy and healthy lifestyle engagement to steer them away from societal pressures and teach them new coping methods to deal with their stressors. Separation anxiety, distress, and extreme emotional ups and downs are common. “This tumultuous journey has been a real test for our staff, to be able to contain their emotions and provide a supportive environment.” RSG Welfare Executive Jolynn Ang concurs: “Working in RSG has been a trying but fulfilling experience. Since I joined RSG, I’ve had the privilege of working with residents who come from many different backgrounds. And it is extremely rewarding to observe their changes and progress during their stay here. “This job requires a lot of patience as well as self-control. We have to learn to regulate emotions and maintain our sense of integrity. That being said, I’m glad I had an opportunity to be part of the RSG family and to contribute to the girls’ lives.” As the hostel’s capacity is 30 girls, RSG will be looking for additional staff, financial resources, volunteer and community support to support the hostel’s programme. If you would like to support RSG, please email admin@stgeorges. mws.org.sg or call 6391-0567 for more information about opportunities. *Not her real name. Adeline Huang is an Executive (Communications and Fundraising) at Methodist Welfare Services.

DONATE

QTo RSG, making your cheque payable to “Methodist Welfare Services” (indicating RSG at the back of the cheque). Include your full name, mailing address and NRIC number for us to issue a tax-exempt receipt. As MWS is an Institution of Public Character, your donations are eligible for 2.5 times tax exemption.


METHODIST MESSAGE, JULY 2013

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POEMS

ASK “Ask and it will be given to you; WIIOERH]SY[MPP½RH knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 “You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it.” John 14:14 ±&YXWIIO½VWX,MWOMRKHSQERH,MWVMKLXISYWRIWW and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33 ±,IVI-EQ-WXERHEXXLIHSSVERHORSGO If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with Me.” Revelation 3:20

MM QUIZ The MM Quiz has been moved online to the Methodist. SG Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/Methodist.SG. Prizes will remain the same. See you there! ANSWERS TO MMQUIZ 165: 1. One third; 2. 40; 3. Kingdomtide; 4. 13; 5. MethodistSG; 6. Understanding; 7. younger; 8. humility; 9. mercy; 10. atonement. THE WINNERS A $20 voucher from Baptist Book Store goes to Ser Joon Sin from Barker Road Methodist Church as the only winner of last month’s MM Quiz No. 165.

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,7+$6%((1$/0 267 thirty years parenting. I am of amazed at how my two children have turned out as adults, and I am God. They are not perfect children, grateful to are my wife and and neither I perfect parents. happy with how But I am they are shaping up to be. There were times when I asked “What did we do right?” in raising myself, When they were our kids. very young, I made up my mind to have only one guiding principle: that they know that my wife and I love them, no matter what. It would not matter did not ace in to me if they school. all we could do me if their behaviour Neither would it bother was to have them would need discipline However, there occasionally. once in a while. were unusual All that I wanted moments of family prayer that were to be persons for them was really meaningfu who loved God, l. And if there was someone and loved others. If they got this in the family who right, I reasoned, prayed for the family most, it would get other they would be the things right in “missus”. their lives. Sometimes I wondered We tried to model whether it was love before them, simply because though I was even my wife and I well aware that were good people that my children we were not the best at it. They were turning out saw and heard all right. how my wife Then recently and I talked openly I read a sermon about our diff Wesley entitled by John difficulties before erences and “On the them Education of Children”. Noting we actually “fought”). (that is being polite, a common observatio They saw also that “some of continued to work n, how we the best parents things out, living have the worst children”, he went still and loving together on to say: “It each other. is true, might sometimes As a family we be the case, because this spent a lot of have not always time together, just having fun, a good understand good men and talking with without this, it ing; and, each other while at it. is hardly to be expected that will know how I would have they to train up their liked to say that children. “Besides, those time together we spent in regular family who are in other good men have devotions and respects prayer. But that often too much would not be easiness of true. I tried but See Page 3

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ROAD CROSS THE urs when We become neighbo the road 15 to cross we are willing There is so much for one another. segregation: between separation and and white people… black people and Christians, between Muslims s… There 17 Catholic Protestants and ssing to do. We is a lot of road-cro our own circles. in busy are all very go to own people to We have our care of. affairs to take once and our own 19 cross the road But if we could attention to what pay and while in a side, we on the other is happening urs. become neighbo might indeed – Henri Nouwen

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JULY is the month for ... Holland Village Methodist Church’s 1st Anniversary July 7 (Sunday), 10.30 am Holland Village Methodist Church, 61 Jalan Hitam Manis Come and celebrate with our brothers and sisters at Holland Village! Organised by Holland Village Methodist Church. Visit www.hvmc.sg

Final Training Session for “Teaching English as a Foreign Language” July 13 (Saturday), 1.30 pm – 5.30 pm Methodist Centre, William Oldham meeting room (Level 3) Registration is first-come-first-served, and will only be confirmed upon receipt of $10 registration fee. The fee will be used to offset the purchase of the book ($25). This is the last available complimentary training session for buyers of this guide. Organised by Methodist Missions Society. Download the form at www.mms.org.sg, call 6478-4803, or email mms@methodist.org.sg

Donating to the MWS Charity Golf Tournament July 17 (Wednesday) Jurong Country Club Registration is closed, but you may still donate to the poor and needy by contacting Ms Bernadette Sandra at 6478-4709 or bernadettesandra@mws. org.sg

METHODIST MESSAGE, JULY 2013

Planning to attend Empower – Festival of Praise (FOP) Day Conference August 3 (Saturday), 9.00 am – 4.30 pm D’Marquee@Downtown East A leadership and worship equipping event themed “Empower”. Aims to create space for local church pastors, leaders, worship teams and all who desire to serve our city and the world in Jesus’ name to come together, interact and learn in conversation with our invited guests and from one another. Guest speakers: the Rev Andy Elmes of Family Church (England) and Klaus Kuehn, Director of Pure Worship Ministries. $70 for adults, $40 for students. Participants will have priority seating for the FOP evening celebrations at 7.00 pm on Aug 2 and 3. Organised by Festival of Praise Singapore. Visit festivalofpraise.org.sg

Registering for Family Matters Conference August 3 (Saturday), 9.30 am – 5.30 pm Wesley Methodist Church, 5 Fort Canning Road Register by July 22 for early bird fee of $20 (subsequently $30). A special conference designed to help parents, pastors, and leaders in Children/Youth Ministry have a better handle on how to disciple children. Includes plenary sessions on “Building Godly Families”, “Leadership in the Home” and practical workshops for fathers and parents with special needs children. Skills-based workshops also available to help communicate Biblical truths more effectively. Organised by The Bible Society of Singapore and Trinity Annual Conference Board of Children’s Ministry. Visit www.bible.org.sg/ children for more details.

Organised by Methodist Welfare Services.

Training of Trainers for “Kids in the Book” – Old Testament July 20 (Saturday), 9.00 am – 6.30 pm July 26 (Friday), 7.30 – 9.30 pm July 27 (Saturday), 9.00 am – 5.00 pm St Andrew’s Cathedral, 11 St Andrew’s Rd Registration is first-come-first-served, and confirmed upon payment of the $200 fee. Be trained to help open up the Word of God to the hearts and minds of children in Singapore or the mission field, using the “Walk Thru the Bible for Children: Kids in the Book” material. Also includes live demonstration plus invitation to conduct the Old Testament Live Event under supervision for certification as a Trainer. Organised by The Bible Society of Singapore. Visit www.bible.org.sg/children or email children@bible.org.sg

Signing up for Fairfield Methodist Schools 125th Founders’ Day Dinner August 4 (Sunday), 6.30 pm Orchard Hotel, 442 Orchard Road Fairfield is having a big-bang birthday party with alumni and friends! Book your tables now, and gather your batch-mates to reminisce the time spent in Fairfield. $110 per person. Organised by Fairfield Methodist Alumni Association. Contact info@fairfieldalumni.org.sg to book your seats or tables.

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METHODIST MESSAGE, JULY 2013

THINK DIALOGUE BETWEEN the Methodists and Roman Catholics has been going on for many years at the international level. When Pope Francis was elected as spiritual leader for the estimated 1.2 billion Catholics, it was indeed heartening to learn of the warm greetings and congratulations conveyed by the World Methodist Council to the ponti. Yet, this same level of respect and understanding appears somewhat remote in Singapore. It is strange and regrettable that there is reticence among Protestants, in particular, in extending that same hand of friendship to Catholics, who I have found to be most courteous and welcoming to other denominations. I continue to meet Methodists (and Protestants of other fellowships) who tell me in no uncertain terms that they want nothing to do with Roman Catholics. All the age-old prejudices come out and the result can only be termed one thing – bigotry, which The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary deďŹ nes as: “Obstinate and unreasonable adherence to a religious or other opinion; narrow-minded intolerance.â€? People expressing these anti-Catholic sentiments justify them on the grounds that “truth cannot mix with errorâ€?. The implication appears to be that “we have all of the truthâ€? and all others are wrong. To this I say: Only one Person can claim to have all the truth – Jesus Christ. Indeed, He is the truth. Since both Catholics and Protestants profess to be followers of Jesus, a little more humility and tolerance for perceived dierences would not be misplaced.

carefully distinguishes worship, reserved for God alone, from veneration. “Oh, but it’s the same anyway,â€? some say. I disagree. The dictionary deďŹ nition of veneration is “profound respect or reverence.â€? We have no problems “veneratingâ€? the state ag – we treat it with great respect, we salute it (schoolchildren and soldiers do it every day), we sing an anthem while it is ceremonially raised and our righteous indignation begins to burn when we see it desecrated by foreigners. Double standards? Even the labels we use are wrong-headed. In Singapore I have often heard “Christianâ€? used to distinguish Protestants from Catholics. This is mighty puzzling, because the rest of the world seems quite happy to consider the Roman Catholic Church to be a Christian Church. Please do not get me wrong. We do have our dierences, but there is more common ground than we usually think. I am not saying that the genuine dierences should be swept under the carpet. A change in attitude is, in my opinion, long overdue. Why can’t we take the view, which is both biblical (Heb 11:13, 13:14; 1 Pet 2:11) as well as a perspective endorsed by the Vatican, that we are all PILGRIMS as Christians? Why can’t we dialogue with Catholic believers without insisting that they should “convertâ€?, but instead share our insights and testimony as a “fellow pilgrim on the wayâ€?? And why are we not prepared to listen to their experience? We cannot expect a 500-year old division in the Church of Jesus Christ to be healed overnight. But we can be agents of reconciliation. Indeed, the heart of the gospel is

An u nderlying intolera nce By AndrĂŠ De Winne A lot of the Protestant bigotry stems from serious misrepresentations of Catholic positions. Here is a sampling of the two I keep hearing ad nauseam. “Catholics believe in salvation through works.â€? This is dead wrong. There is even a section in the documents of the (very Catholic) Council of Trent which explicitly condemns this. And in 1999, Catholics and Lutherans signed a Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of JustiďŹ cation which very clearly spells out that we can only be justiďŹ ed by grace through faith. Methodists signed this same Joint Declaration in 2004. The other objection is that “Catholics worship Maryâ€?. Again, wrong. The Roman Catholic Church clearly and

restoration of relationships. One of the challenges of the 21st Century is whether Catholics and Protestants can pray and stand together as fellow Christians, and contend together for the faith in the face of growing barbarism, intolerance, racism, materialism, exploitation and the other evils of our time. AndrĂŠ De Winne was brought up as a Roman Catholic in Belgium. Married to a Singaporean Chinese, he was the pastoral team member for Discipleship and Nurture at Wesley Methodist Church until recently as he and his wife will be relocating to France for a new ministry later in the year. Background picture by Chan Yee Kee/Bigstock.com

Methodist Message is the RIĂ€FiDO PRnthO\ SuEOiFDtiRn RI The MethRdist &huUFh in SinJDSRUe 3uEOished PDteUiDO dRes nRt neFessDUiO\ UeĂ eFt the RIĂ€FiDO YieZ RI The MethRdist &huUFh AOO SFUiStuUe TuRted is EDsed Rn the NeZ InteUnDtiRnDO VeUsiRn unOess RtheUZise stDted Editorial Board Adviser and Publisher: Bishop Dr Wee Boon Hup, Chairman, Council on Communications: Editor: Ms Christina Stanley Assistant Editor: Ms Grace Toh Our address: 1IXLSHMWX1IWWEKIˆ&EVOIV6SEH7MRKETSVIˆTel:ˆFax:ˆEmail: newmm@methodist.org.sg MM website: [[[QIXLSHMWXQIWWEKIGSQˆChurch Website: www.methodist.org.sg

Methodist Message: July 2013 Issue  

Methodist Message is an official publication of The Methodist Church in Singapore.

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