Church history is the record of God’s gracious, wonderful and mighty deeds, showing how by His Spirit and Word He rules His Church and conquers the world.
The Beginnings of Grace
The genesis of GMC was marked by a few distinctive features in the worship service of Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church (TACMC) in the 1950s: a growing number of young people studying in English-medium schools and English choral presentations sung at the Hokkien service.
These congregational distinctives eventually led to the formation of the Singspiration Corner as part of TACMC’s Sunday School programme in 1954. The draw of the Methodist Youth Fellowship notwithstanding, the then Senior Pastor Rev Hong Hang Keng was concerned that the lack of an English worship service would see an exodus of the youth. The Rev Hong and the Official Board asked the Rev Alfred Yeo to start an English worship service and an English Sunday School in 1964.
By God’s grace, the service grew from an initial congregation of 30, prompting members to start thinking about organising into a separate church. Grace Methodist Church (GMC) was thus officially constituted as the first self-supporting English Worship Service within the Chinese Annual Conference with 150 members on 8 Nov 1970.
The Journey of Grace
The fledgling church was led by young adults in their twenties. They were inspired by the Rev Yeo’s vision for GMC to support inter-denominational missions. His missional vision for GMC is a legacy that continues until today as the church currently supports overseas missions in Turkey, Kenya, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia. In addition, GMC supports the Singapore-based Bethany International University, a missions training school, as well as the itinerant ministry of David and Cynthia Leong.
Subsequent Senior Pastors or Pastors-in-Charge (PICs) appointed to GMC built up different aspects of the congregation’s life. In 1982, the Rev Francis Ngoi launched the Group Ministry. When he was reappointed in 1995 as PIC, he installed care group leaders for Ministry groups.
In 2010, the Rev Wilfred Leow was appointed PIC. The leaders and the Rev Leow felt a need for GMC members to continue progressing as disciples of Jesus. The Rev Leow spearheaded a five-year discipleship plan focusing on shaping the Attitude towards discipleship, instilling the Basics of discipleship, building a Community of disciples, moving the members to take up Duties of disciples and finally to move out in Evangelism. The Rev Andy Goh, the Rev Leow’s successor, is currently championing the fifth discipleship process of Evangelism as GMC plans to reach out to STEPS (Schools, Telok Blangah, Executives, Punggol Outreach Project and the people living in the areas Surrounding GMC).
Ministries at Grace
GMC currently has more than 700 members. Other than two contemporary English worship services and an Outreach Bilingual Service, GMC’s ministries also include GraceStar, a Sunday School programme for children aged 3 to 12, Junior Youth Service, Youth Fellowship, Young Adults Fellowship, Young Families with Children Fellowship, Basic Accountability Adult Groups, Seniors’ Fellowship and the Women’s Society of Christian Service.
As GMC pursues its goal to be a glorious church for God, it hopes to be a place where all can grow as well as make disciples for Christ.
The author is grateful to the Rev Alfred Yeo, the Rev Wilfred Leow, the Rev Andy Goh, Mr Han Hai Kwang and Mr Chan Fook Kay for agreeing to be interviewed for this article.
Photo courtesy of Grace Methodist Church
Glenn Tan is a member of Grace Methodist Church and a student at Trinity Theological College.