NOVEMBER 13, 2005 marked the 100th Anniversary of Geylang Chinese Methodist Church. Thanks be to God for He blessed us with a clear blue sky that day amidst the monsoon season which began early that month.
The congregation and guests came early in the afternoon with the purpose of giving our God of faithfulness the highest glory through the Thanksgiving Service.
At 3.30 pm, the Rev Khoo Cheng Hoot, President of the Chinese Annual Conference (CAC), the Rev Chua Ooi Suah and the Rev David Liew, the two District Superintendents, guests and members of the church witnessed the blessing by Bishop Dr Robert Solomon of a Spring Fountain located near the main gate of the church. The fountain reminded us of the unceasing flow of spring water.
A plaque stood beside the fountain engraved with these words from Scripture: “But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)
At 4 pm sharp, the Thanksgiving Service started with the 100-member strong choir trooping into the sanctuary singing the processional hymn “Crown Him with Many Crowns”, followed by the congregational singing of two hymns, “Let there be Glory and Honour Praises” and “Come in to His presence”.
The Rev Liew, the District Superintendent (East), led the congregation with a prayer of thanksgiving.
Our Lay Leader, Mr Richard Goh Say Pin, and steward Mdm Hor Suet Yee read the Scripture passage from 1 Peter 2: 4-12 in English and Hokkien, respectively. Thereafter the congregation responded with the reading of Psalms 126 and 127.
The Local Church Executive Committee Chairman, Mr Tan Wee Pin, presented the history of the church and counted the blessings of God for the last 100 years.
Geylang CMC started with only 18 members in 1905, he said. It grew over the years and it now has four congregations, namely the Hokkien, Mandarin, English and Bilingual Services, with a weekly total attendance of about 700 worshippers.
In addition, Geylang CMC has “given birth” to several Methodist churches over the last 100 years.
The church also became the 27th partner church of the Methodist Missions Society as it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the society during the Thanksgiving Service.
At the service, the congregation also witnessed the presentation of colourful, paper-folded stars to the Lord as many of the members completed their reading of the entire Bible within a span of one year, and also the presentation and singing of the centennial song, entitled “Build the House of the Lord”, which was composed by Mr Jowecte Wong and Mr Peter Hii.
The Children’s Choir and the Centennial Choir then presented two anthems, “Step by Step” and “Almighty God”, respectively.
Bishop Dr Solomon preached a sermon entitled “Being Christ’s Church” in such simplicity that all could comprehend, and yet it was profound enough for deeper reflections.
He humorously pointed out that a pastor was like a frog, which waited for an opportunity to seize its prey; whereas a church member was like a lizard which went to all places to hunt for insects.
He reiterated the laity’s importance and contribution in missions and ministry, especially in areas or places where the clergy had no access.
The Thanksgiving Service reached a crescendo as the Centennial Choir sang G. F. Handel’s “Hallelujah”. The choir included 20 members of the choir from Geylang Methodist Secondary School.
At this juncture, the entire service gave its highest glory and honour to God. The service ended at about 7 pm with Bishop Dr Solomon giving the benediction.
The congregation adjourned to a plot of land adjacent to the church to await the arrival of our VIP, Mr Loh Meng See, an MP for Jalan Besar GRC, for the Thanksgiving Dinner.
Initially, the church had planned a dinner for 1,000 worshippers (100 tables), but due to the overwhelming responses of churches and members, an extra 15 tables were added.
Every guest and church member was given a special gift consisting of a book of testimonies published by the church and a uniquely designed key-chain.
Mr Loh, who is also a brother-in-Christ, delivered a speech that quoted several passages from Scripture to encourage us to learn from our forebears in loving the Lord, the church and the nation.
The comperes for the dinner were Mr Goh, the lay leader, and myself. The highlights of the evening were the cutting of the 30-kg centenary cake, and the presentation of faithful-service souvenirs to the honorary, as well as the serving stewards. They have contributed their best years to the Lord in serving the church.
May the Lord continue to lead Geylang CMC in the coming years, may every step we take please the Lord, and may we be the salt and light of the world, just as the centennial song reminds us of the importance of “becoming the lighthouse of this world.”
Paul Thian is the Assistant Pastor of Geylang Chinese Methodist Church.