A blessed New Year! This year, we celebrate the 135th anniversary of The Methodist Church in Singapore (1885–2020).
The first local Methodist Church in Singapore was constituted on 23 Feb 1885, a little more than two weeks after Bishop Thoburn, the Rev Oldham and their party arrived in Singapore on 7 Feb. For 15 consecutive evenings from 8 Feb 1885 until 22 Feb, they held evangelistic meetings at the Singapore Town Hall. Three British Wesleyans, 22 probationers and the Rev Oldham made up the 26 persons who attended the inaugural meeting to form the first Methodist Episcopal Church (later re-named Wesley Methodist Church). This marked the start of 135 years of Wesleyan heritage in Singapore.
Singapore has just celebrated its Bicentennial. MCS’s 135 years makes up a substantial part of that history. Our educational mission, social concerns, medical care and other services have histories just as long.
The records show there were 137,722 persons in Singapore—Chinese, Malays, Indians and other races—in 1881. For 135 years, God has blessed and put the Methodist Church into our multi-racial community as their neighbour. The Church must uphold the key biblical precepts: to love God with all our hearts and minds, and to love our neighbour as ourselves.
Being a neighbour is our honour and also our blessing. Together with all Singapore’s citizens and residents, we build our nation with one heart and with all that we have, regardless of race, language or religion.
Each time MCS celebrates an anniversary, it is also a time for us to reaffirm our desire to be a good neighbour in every way possible. As we celebrate, we also want to invite our neighbours to be our special guests.
In the series of events planned for the year, there are two events we will celebrate together with our neighbours. The first is the Family Carnival on 30 May at the Geylang Methodist Schools (Primary and Secondary). We warmly welcome all members of MCS to join in and also invite all residents of Geylang to come celebrate with us.
Another event is the Heritage Day and Exhibition at Wesley Methodist Church. The Guest of Honour is the President of Singapore, Her Excellency Mdm Halimah Yacob. Other important guests include the heads of other Christian denominations as well as representatives of other faiths.
Just as for our 125th and 130th Anniversaries, we will work closely with the Methodist Welfare Services to bless low income or needy families. Our target of $1.35m will need of every Methodist member to give generously.
Let me sincerely wish you a much blessed and richly meaningful 2020!
Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung was elected Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore in 2016. He served as President of the Chinese Annual Conference from 2008 to 2016.