“How often, making music, we have found
a new dimension in the world of sound,
as worship moved us to a more profound
I gained a deeper understanding of this stanza from Fred Pratt Green’s ‘When in Our Music God Is Glorified’ as sung at the Methodist School of Music’s (MSM) 20th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service, held 29 April 2017 at Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church (TA2 Sanctuary). The responsive call to worship set up a moving ‘call-and-response’ dynamic, leading the congregation into full-throated, whole-hearted worship of our almighty God.
Indeed the worship and music ministry, as faithfully nurtured by the MSM over these past 20 years, enables us to dig deeper and offer our whole beings to worship the Lord in a richer, fuller sense; not only in pleasant times of plenty, but all the more so in times of persecution and trial, as the next stanza implies:
“So has the church in liturgy and song,
in faith and love through centuries of wrong,
borne witness to the truth in every tongue,
This truth has no doubt carried the MSM through its difficult times, since being set up in 1997 by the then Council of Worship & Music of The Methodist Church in Singapore, to develop music and the arts in Singapore, and to serve the Church through music.
The MSM has persevered in doing so through several challenges, not least of which was constrained access due to construction of the Downtown Line 2 MRT station at its very doorstep, alluded to by Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung in his congratulatory message printed in the Service’s souvenir booklet. Patience has brought its reward: the completed Hillview Station affords the greatest convenience for potential MSM students.
“Students” does not only refer to children and youths benefitting from the MSM’s General Music arm, but also and increasingly to attendees of a wide range of ages who attend courses, workshops, and symposia run by its Worship & Music arm. The MSM’s ministry to all was clearly reflected in the variety of persons who participated in the Thanksgiving Service: from lithe ballet dancers to stalwart Scripture readers; from the glorious array of instrumentalists to the vibrant choir; from the faithful staff in attendance to well-wishers bearing congratulatory smiles.
The Rev James Nagulan, President of Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference, preached passionately on Psalm 90, pointing out that it was structured like a prayer. The psalmist acknowledged the eternity and sovereignty of God, compared with our smallness and temporal nature, and responded with both humble pleas for the Lord’s favour, as well as bold requests to show His power to the next generation. “The word ‘establish’ is repeated,” noted the Rev Nagulan, “showing a desire for continuity, that the work of our hands would be seen for years to come as a testament of God’s grace for the next generation.”
The MSM took the opportunity to recognise its staff with Long Service Awards: Dr Evelyn Lim, Ms Judy Tay and Ms Filly Chian had served for 20 years, while Ms Cathy Tan and Ms Ellen Andreyana had served for 10 years.
Asked for her comments on this joyous occasion, MSM’s founding Principal Ms Mary Gan said: “My prayer is that more churches and individuals will share MSM’s vision. Your practical support in prayers, financial contribution and active participation in promoting the School (including sending your own children) will enable the School to fulfill its vision.”
This was echoed by Bishop Dr Chong in his congratulatory message, who hoped that churches would support the MSM, participate actively in its training programmes, and give generously towards its operational needs.
Grace Toh –
is the Editor of Methodist Message and a member of Kampong Kapor Methodist Church.