THE YEAR-LONG CELEBRATIONS of the 125th Anniversary of the founding of Methodism in Singapore ended on a high note on Oct 31, 2010 as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, and community and faith leaders joined 3,000 Methodists at the Methodist Heritage Day at the Old School on Mount Sophia.
PM Lee acknowledged e Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) as a “role model and a valuable partner” in the Government’s community engagement eﬀorts.
All glory belongs to God as we give thanks to Him for granting us good weather, wide participation and bonding that day, and blessing the MCS in a special way.
The MCS was founded following the arrival of missionaries James oburn and his wife, William Oldham and Julia Battie on Feb 7, 1885.
Several public meetings were held after they came and by the end of the month, the first Methodist congregation was formed in Singapore. The congregation was an “English” church in the early days as its activities and services were in English, catering mainly to the British business and garrison community and Eurasians.
It evolved into what is known today as the MCS, comprising a General Conference and three Annual Conferences – the Chinese Annual Conference (CAC), Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC) and Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC).
Today, the MCS comprises a total of 44 churches with 38,000 members, 16 schools, 13 social service units and seven mission fields.
The MCS’ year-long celebrations began with the launch of a Community Outreach Project on Feb 28, 2010. The theme was “Together in God’s Mission”.
Almost $1.8 million was raised from church members and friends for the project aimed at helping the chronically poor in Singapore – the bottom 10 per cent of the socio-economic ladder who live on an average income of $350 or less a month.
The Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) – the social service arm of the MCS – which spearheaded the project, had also rallied some 2,000 volunteers to visit nearly 1,000 needy families, bringing them cash and goodwill each month, for a period of 12 months.
Culminating in the year-long anniversary celebrations was the Methodist Heritage Day, which featured a main exhibition on the history and mission of the MCS, three satellite exhibitions at Wesley Methodist Church, the Tamil Methodist Church and Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church, as well as a Heritage Trail by bus.
Other events held earlier included the Aldersgate Convention 2010, which incorporated the Wesleyan Hymn Festival at Victoria Concert Hall on May 18 and 19, and a Dialogue between Bishop Dr Robert Solomon, the presidents of the three Annual Conferences – the Rev Dr Chong Chin Chung (CAC), the Rev James Nagulan (ETAC) and the Rev Dr Wee Boon Hup (TRAC) – and church members at Paya Lebar Methodist Church on May 21.
The Combined 125th Anniversary anksgiving and Aldersgate Service, also at Paya Lebar Methodist Church, was held on May 22, when a commemorative booklet, Methodist Milestones, was launched. Methodist Milestones is a 32-page booklet which chronicles the major milestones of the MCS from its inception in February 1885 to the present. Written by Mr Earnest Lau, the MCS Archivist, it is produced in English, Chinese and Tamil.
The Young Methodist Leaders’ Conference, which was also a part of the anniversary celebrations, was held in Johor from Sept 9 to 1, 2010.
Aldersgate Convention 2011 to be held from May 20-23
THIS YEAR’S ALDERSGATE CONVENTION will be held from May 20 to 23. e speaker will be the Rev Dr Eddie Fox, World Director of Evangelism of the World Methodist Council.
The convention organising committee is planning the programme, and will release more details in next month’s issue of Methodist Message.