THE Rev Dr John Barrett, Principal of Anglo-Chinese School (International), has challenged teachers in Britain to come to Singapore to teach.
“Why not come over to Singapore for one to three years either at the start of your teaching career or at the end of it?” he said. “I think you will find it to be as spiritually fulfilling as I have.”
In a letter to the Editor of Methodist Recorder, a London weekly Methodist newspaper, he wrote: “Singapore
Methodism has always seen education as part of its Christian mission and therefore understands that a Methodist school should not only offer a broad curriculum, exploring all aspects of God’s world and equipping young people for work within it, but should also train young people in Christian living and prepare them for Christian leadership.
“The Methodist Church in Singapore is bursting with spiritual life. The church my wife and I attend has six services on a Sunday — the two main English services are usually packed, up to a thousand worshippers – and there is an excitement and expectancy about the worship.
“I have to confess I never enjoyed attending church as much as I have here each week. And the partnership between the church and the school is wonderful – the support both in prayer and in material ways has been amazing.
“I write this letter partly to commend this country and its Methodist Church to your readers, hoping they will remember it in their prayers, but also to challenge those who are teachers to think of coming out to help us.
“We cannot afford salaries that are comparable to those of teachers in the UK. But you can live very cheaply here and you can do a lot on a Singapore teacher’s salary.
We may also be able to offer basic accommodation and other allowances.”
The Rev Dr Barrett said he had not planned to come to work in Singapore. It was almost two years now since he received a surprise telephone call from Bishop Dr Robert Solomon inviting him to be the principal of a new international school — ACS (International) — that The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) felt led by God to open.
“My wife and I came to Singapore to talk over the church’s plans and explore its vision. Quickly we came to experience for ourselves the church’s sense of calling and to share its excitement about this opportunity.
“So in the summer of last year I retired from the headship of The Leys School in Cambridge, and came out to Singapore.
The new school opened in January this year with 120 students; in the first six months numbers have grown to 200.” Singapore, he said, is an exciting place to live and work. “I have been visiting the country bi-annually for nearly 20 years and it is amazing to see how it has changed – not only in its physical appearance (with its high-rise condominiums; its towering hotels and office blocks and its designer-label shopping malls) but in atmosphere. It has always been cosmopolitan, but there is now a harmonious mix of Asian races living and working together in a country they all feel is home.
“Furthermore, when I first visited Singapore it was regarded by overseas visitors as restrictive and overly regimented (though I don’t think Singaporeans felt this). It has become a much more open and relaxed society and much more obviously democratic with an ongoing, open debate about its future.”
The Rev Dr Barrett can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
DEAD FAITH …
“… is that kind of faith which would lead a man to take a bottle of medicine from his medicine cabinet. Looking at the instructions on it, he says, ‘I’m sure they’re correct. I have all confidence in the source of the medicine. I know who wrote these directions. I believe everything about it. I know this will relieve my headache, if I just take it’. “But he takes the medicine bottle and puts it back on the shelf. He doesn’t lose his headache. It continues on. Yet he can say I believe that medicine. I believe all about that medicine. But still he won’t take it. That’s dead faith.”
— James 2:20 – Dr Harlan Roper,
Tape on James, Dallas, Texas.