Church gearing up for 30th Anniversary joy
ALDERSGATE Methodist Church (AMC) is gearing up for its 30th Anniversary celebrations in May with a host of activities and programmes to remind its members of their “Journey of Faith”.
This journey of the church pioneers was full of anxieties, trials and tribulations and it took 17 years before a permanent “home” was found on Dover Road after the members had “hopped” from place to place to gather for worship.
Their inaugural Sunday worship service was held at the Singapore American School theatrette, then at Ulu Pandan Road, on Jan 8, 1978. The church – originally named Clementi Methodist Church – had its early beginning as the Clementi New Town Pioneer Work, and the Founding Pastor was the Rev William Denver Stone, an American Methodist missionary pastor.
After a short four-month “stay” at the Singapore American School, the pioneers then moved on to Anglo-Chinese Junior College at North Buona Vista Road to worship there.
In December 1978, they moved to a disused British Army church at Portsdown Road, where on May 6, 1979 they celebrated their constitution as a Local Conference with a Thanksgiving Service.
Five years later, at the end of 1984, they moved again as they had to vacate the Portsdown Road church for the Government to acquire the site for its redevelopment plans. They then moved to Fairfield Methodist Primary School hall at Dover Road.
In January 1988, agreement was reached with the school for the church to build a chapel on the school ground. Finally, the church had a home of its own when construction work on the chapel building was completed on Dec 9, 1994. On Jan 15, 1995 the church held a Thanksgiving Service and Dinner to remind church members of God’s faithfulness.
On July 1, 1997, Clementi Methodist Church officially became known as Aldersgate Methodist Church. Church members voted on the change in name at a special congregational meeting on April 27, 1997.
The story of Aldersgate Methodist Church, in the words of a pioneer, is a story of a miracle. Perhaps not every member of the congregation knows this. “If the story is not retold and recorded, it may one day be lost for all time,” he said.
The church leaders, therefore, feel that it is important for members, especially the younger generation, to know the early years of AMC’s struggles and to draw lessons from them. An Archives research and writing team has been formed to produce literature on the history of the church.
Thus, apart from the usual anniversary lunch after the Thanksgiving Service at its sanctuary on May 3, programmes have been planned to highlight the early years of AMC. These include the publishing and distribution of flyers depicting the history of AMC; publishing of a fuller version of the history of the church in Liveline, the church publication; and an exhibition displaying artefacts, photographs and historical documents.
The flyers – 13 issues in all – are given out to church members every Sunday together with the Order of Worship. The first issue, which was a teaser enticing church members to look out for The Aldersgate Experience for the following 12 weeks, was given out on Feb 1, 2009. The last issue will be distributed on April 26, the last Sunday before May 3, the day of the Thanksgiving Service and Anniversary lunch.