ITEM OF HERITAGE
“Aldersgate Methodist Church’s Archives and History Committee would like to find out whether there are other churches still in possession of an “Ong Chaik Ghee” cross so that we can all share this little item of heritage
of Aldersgate during this Easter season.”
ALDERSGATE METHODIST CHURCH (AMC) will be celebrating its 33rd birthday in May this year. Among its precious trove of heritage possessions is an old wooden cross measuring 16 inches by 25.5 inches. It is meant to be placed at the communion table.
The horizontal bar of the cross dove-tails snugly into the vertical post, so that the cross can be disassembled for ease of handling and transport.
In all its 33 years of history, the wooden cross had followed the AMC congregation as the members wandered from place to place of worship before finally settling down in its present permanent address at 98 Dover Road. No one in the church could remember where the “old wooden cross” came from.
It was not until three years ago that AMC’s Archives and History Committee discovered a letter dated April 7, 1979, written by AMC’s founder-pastor, the Rev Denver Stone, to the Rev Ong Chaik Ghee. e letter reads:
“ … I want to express our deepest thanks and appreciation for the beautiful cross that you made for our communion table. e cross has added value because it was made with your own hands … e cross will always remind us of Him who loved us all and of you who gave of yourself in the making of it.” (excerpt).
Significantly, the Rev Stone’s letter was dated a week before Easter of 1979. Today, our thoughts are once again focused on e Cross, “the emblem of suﬀering and shame”1 that signifies the redemptive work of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.
The Rev Ong had been a long-time pastor serving in many Methodist churches. Coincidentally he was also the first Chairman of the Council on Archives and History in 1976 after the separation of the two Methodist Churches in Malaysia and Singapore.
We learned subsequently that the Rev Ong had personally crafted and presented similar crosses to several local Methodist churches as they developed from “Pioneer Work” to “Local Conference”.
AMC’s Archives and History Committee would like to find out whether there are other churches still in possession of an “Ong Chaik Ghee” cross so that we can all share this little item of heritage during this Easter season.
Peter Chen is a member of Aldersgate Methodist Church
1 “The Old Rugged Cross” – George Bennard 1913
Story: Peter Chen ■ Images: Aldersgate Methodist Church Archives