METHODIST HERITAGE DAY
Bishop’s welcome address
FROM THE BEGINNING, besides preaching the Gospel of Christ and planting churches, The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) also sought other ways of serving and contributing to the well-being of society.This dual emphasis on evangelism and social concern is an essential part of the Methodist DNA, and traces its origin to the teachings of the Lord Jesus.
Stating this in his address at the Methodist Heritage Day at the Old School on Mount Sophia, Bishop Dr Robert Solomon said: “The vertical love and devotion to God, and the horizontal compassionate love for our fellow human beings was crisply summarised by John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist branch of the Christian church, in the terms personal holiness and social holiness. This emphasis has helped Methodists to develop a deep devotional life and an active social presence.”
Jesus pointed out the essence of the Christian life as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew 22:37-39: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. is is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The Mount Sophia location has been in the past a hive of Methodist presence and activity, having been the location of the Nind Home, the Jean Hamilton School, the Methodist Girls’ School, the Trinity eological College, the Methodist Headquarters, the John Wesley Centre, and the home of many Methodist missionaries and pastors. Some of these institutions have been relocated to another hill at Upper Bukit Timah, at the new John Wesley Centre.
More than 3,000 people were involved in the Heritage Day activities. Besides the Heritage Exhibition and the Heritage Fair, participants went on buses on a Heritage Trail, visiting some of the historical sites in the city related to Methodism. They also visited the three satellite Heritage exhibition sites in our three oldest churches – Wesley Methodist, Tamil Methodist and Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist, which were all established in the 19th century.
The Bishop said that the Methodist Church has also built its ecumenical relations with other Christian churches, and works closely with them. “We share the same faith and creeds and I appreciate the presence of representatives of our sister Christian churches and organisations here.
“In addition, the Methodist Church has also been building healthy relations with leaders and members of other religious communities. Over the years, and especially in recent times, we have been involved in many inter-religious activities and dialogues to foster better understanding and harmony, both at the leadership and grassroots levels. I appreciate the presence of leaders of other religious communities in Singapore.”
This year, the MCS celebrates its 125th anniversary with much thanksgiving to God for His faithful guidance and many blessings.
“Our history is intimately intertwined with the history of our nation,” said the Bishop. “We have grown in number, and also in our spiritual life. Our celebrations have focused on God’s goodness and grace, and urge us, through our theme, ‘Together in God’s Mission’, to move forward to a higher plane of life and service.
“Our key anniversary project aims to help our neighbours, regardless of race or religion, who are caught in chronic poverty. Over and above what we regularly do to help the poor, this year, we have raised almost $1.8 million for this community outreach project and are mobilising more than 2,000 Methodists to personally visit and befriend such families with monthly financial assistance for an entire year, and to find other ways of providing social support and helping them to overcome the poverty cycle. We hope to help 1,000 families, and have already started with about 800 families.
The Community Outreach Project is an oﬀshoot of the rich heritage of the Methodist Church’s 125 years of serving the community. is Methodist Heritage Day focuses on this aspect of the Methodist Church, and the exhibitions, video and other information will help Methodists remember, appreciate and continue this great heritage.
It is this spirit that enabled Methodists to pioneer significant social services in Singapore, and created more than their fair share of Methodist contribution and presence in various spheres of life in Singapore such as the professions and public life.
“It is in this spirit that we look to the future, to the grace and presence of God, and to continue in that same spirit. We shall continue to serve as a community and as individuals in our schools, homes, the marketplace, in public oﬃce, in the professions, and elsewhere – for the improvement and well-being of our society.”