This year, Agape Methodist Church (AgMC) turns 21, marking its coming of age since its first Sunday services in 1998.
From inception to now being a congregation of more than 250 members and four weekly services—English, Mandarin, Youth and Children—the sense of the Lord’s faithfulness and watching over the fledgling church is undeniable. His more-than-adequate provision has ensured that AgMC has stayed in the black financially year after year, even after allocating sizeable funds to Missions.
AgMC’s first services were held in the cinema halls in Jurong Point as a preaching point initiative. Known then as Jurong Ministry, AgMC has come a long, roundabout way since. Today, the church has gone back to holding services in cinema halls like it used to.1
Regardless of the changes and circumstances, AgMC has stayed true to the vision of reaching out to the Jurong community for Christ, be it at Jurong East Mall (JEM), where its four Sunday services run concurrently at 9.30 a.m., or at Taman Jurong, where its three-storey building stands.
Since becoming the 20th Local Conference of the Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC) on 4 Dec 2005, AgMC has had its own building on Yung Ho Road, which was acquired and later renamed the Agape after its namesake. Appeals to the authorities for the right to use the Agape for worship services are still ongoing. The building is where the church office is located, as is Lakeside Family Services, its collaborator in reaching out to the community in need.
The Rev Nga Mee Hee, our current Pastor-in-charge, leads AgMC in our journey to re-examine, rediscover and realign ourselves continually to God’s purposes.
Like a child growing from infancy into young adulthood, AgMC has had its share of angst and zest. Conflict and confusion, waiting and seeming aimlessness, as well as identity crisis have been but part of AgMC’s growing up. Our church life has been made all the richer by them all. To its harshest critic, AgMC is like a kid in arrested development, or a church forever in transition, never going anywhere and still a far cry from its hopes of becoming a “church without walls”.
The biennial church camp, eighth to date, saw 153 participants crossing into Malaysia to spend four glorious days together learning how to be the “Salt of the Earth and Light of the World”. The largest turnout in the history of AgMC church camps, this year’s camp was almost redlined had the committee not persevered in the face of a dismal initial sign-up.
The number 153 was itself a revelation. This was the exact number of fish the disciples caught after they obeyed Jesus’ instruction to drop their net once more after a fruitless night of fishing! (Jn 21:11) When told of the number, the camp speaker articulated his immediate thought—“It’s harvest time!”
During the camp, we heard how the timely sequence of events led to the revelation of the important keys of the Kingdom (Matt 16:19), which the Lord will bestow upon AgMC. A greater surprise was learning the reason behind it.
AgMC turns 21 this year. Until it was highlighted, it had not occurred to us to add the seven years of being Jurong Ministry to the 14 years of being AgMC. On turning 21, many young adults receive an ornamental key from their parents in symbolic recognition of their reaching the cusp of adulthood. In due time, He will hand over the keys to His kingdom if this little church of His does not lose heart.
Looking at our logo, one would notice a heart-shaped M from which drips the blood of Christ onto His church (denoted by letters A and C). For it is only by His blood and agape love that AgMC can fulfill its vision.
1 AgMC would also like to acknowledge Faith Methodist Church for its role in the birthing of AgMC.
Dr Naville Chia is the LCEC Chairperson of Agape Methodist Church. He is a medical doctor by profession.
Photo courtesy of Agape Methodist Church