Changi Methodist Church (CMC) was established as a local conference in 1979 with about 50 members at Kampong Chai Chee led by the late Rev Lee Chin Ming. Its pioneers were a passionate team of youths from Geylang Chinese Methodist Church. CMC started with just one worship service conducted in Hokkien with an English Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF). The English MYF later developed into a full English worship service. Over the years, the congregation size has waxed and waned, hovering between 80 and 100. Currently, CMC has about 80 members.
The church’s vision in the recent few years is to plant a preaching point in Punggol. This came about after concerted prayer among the leaders and the Rev Jasper Sim, who was then the Pastor-in-Charge. The miraculous way in which doors then began to open for CMC in a school in Punggol seemed a confirmation of God’s will. We are currently working towards growing the congregation size to at least 150 disciples of Jesus Christ
One key ministry to highlight in Punggol is our support of Boys’ and Girls’ brigade (BB and GB) companies in Greendale Primary School. At a time when we hear of BB and GB companies closing down due to decreasing enrolment, our BB and GB companies are actually growing in numbers. Through BB and GB, we are able to reach out to and befriend the families of our boys and girls.
Another important area for growth is our cell group ministry. We have three adult and two youth cell groups and we meet three times a month on Fridays.
Besides that, CMC has also partnered with the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) to set up FamilyWorks Community Services (FWCS), a centre serving Punggol families. One of the flagship programmes which FWCS runs is the Rainbows programme designed to help children from single-parent families (refer to P7 of MM Feb 2017).
CMC does not currently have a permanent place of its own. At present, we worship at Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church at 3 p.m. on Sundays. We have also recently rented a bungalow in Punggol to be used as a Family Life Centre. We gather there for celebration fellowship every 4th Sunday. It serves as an important focal point for our Punggol ministry.
While this lack of a permanent place has contributed to the challenge of growing the church, it has also built a bunch of resilient worshippers with a ‘never-say-die’ attitude. The community is small but strong and truly imbued with the gotong royong (mutual aid) spirit. Since I joined the church in 2015, it has been a joy to see everyone from young to old chipping in to help at events.
We are not the biggest, richest, or most talented church in the Chinese Annual Conference (CAC). In fact, we are the smallest church! Yet God has led us to reach out to one of the biggest residential towns – Punggol. We are thankful for the conference’s recognition and support for our ministry. A few CAC churches have been instrumental in supporting our ministry and we look forward to more collaborations with other churches.
CMC will turn 40 in two years’ time. Forty is a significant number biblically. I believe God will bring about significant changes in CMC in line with His will and purpose when that time comes. Meanwhile we labour on as faithfully as we can by God’s grace.
Changi Methodist Church
Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church (Worship Location)
299 Upper Paya Lebar Road, S(534932)
Sunday Services: 3 p.m. English
The Rev Edmund Koh
is Pastor-in-Charge of Changi Methodist Church.
Photos courtesy of Changi Methodist Church