THE SEED FOR THE FORMATION of the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) was sown by Mr Peter Joe Chia in June 1976. It bore fruit in 1977 when the Board of Social Concerns of Trinity Annual Conference under the leadership of Mr Lee Liat Cheng appointed Dr Chia Lin Sien to draft a constitution for its formation. is was subsequently presented to the Council of Christian Social Concerns in September 1980 for further action.
A pro-tem committee under Mr Richard Tambyah, the Chairman of the Council of Christian Social Concerns, was formed and the MWS was registered under the Societies Act in 1981.
Thus began a 30-year journey of service and caring for the Singapore community that has endured and flourished to this day. Starting with only one service, the Methodist Home for the Aged Sick in St Georges Road, and 20 residents, the vision of these dedicated pioneers slowly took shape.
“There was a need then to give shelter and nursing aid to the aged sick who had no families and nobody to care for them,” said Mr David Ong, a pioneer of MWS who was later Chairman of the MWS Board.
However, their dreams did not stop there. Inspired by the model of community service adopted by the Wesley Mission of the Uniting Church in Sydney, which had services catering to the entire spectrum of people in need, the MWS Board decided it would expand beyond simply caring for the aged sick.
Here, we share a few “firsts” which marked the milestones in MWS’ 30 years of history which is intrinsically connected to e Methodist Church in Singapore.
First Joint Project With a Local Church
In 1987, the MWS embarked on its first joint project with a Methodist church, Kampong Kapor Methodist Church: the Kampong Kapor Family Service Centre.
First MWS Charity Golf Tournament
In 1989, the first MWS Charity Golf Tournament brought Methodists together to fellowship and to raise funds, convened by Barker Road Methodist Church.
First Hospice Service
In 1990, the MWS, together with the Council on Christian Social Concerns, initiated the ministry to the terminally ill through the formation of the Agape Fellowship. The objective was to promote the hospice ministry in Methodist churches. e work then gradually grew from training and development of hospice volunteers to an active ministry of caring for those with advanced illnesses in their homes.
First Student Care Centre
This was opened in 1994, jointly with Charis Methodist Church.
First Home for the Destitute
In 1997, together with Christ Methodist Church, the MWS opened Christalite Methodist Home to care for the destitute and the homeless.
First fully-owned Nursing Home for the Elderly Sick
In 2000, Bethany Methodist Nursing Home, with a capacity to house more than 200 residents, was completed in Choa Chu Kang.
First Children and Youth Centre
The Methodist Children and Youth Centre was launched in partnership with Barker Road Methodist Church and collaborated with the National Institute of Education for projects with three primary schools.
First Joint Community Project with e Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) denomination-wide
In 2010, the MWS was appointed the administrator of the MCS’ 125th Anniversary Community Outreach Project. More than 1,000 families are being visited by more than 2,000 befrienders from the MCS, blessing them with $125 every month.
First Philanthropy Award
In recognition of its eﬀorts in raising and managing funds, the MWS was awarded the Philanthropy award for Non-Profit Organisations in December 2010.
Today, the MWS has 14 centres and outreach services, reaching out to those in need and distressed. Our five centres for children provide child care and after-school care for students, many of whom come from underprivileged families. By providing a nurturing and safe environment while their parents are working, we help them to develop and grow.
At our four Family Service Centres, we help families deal with issues like financial diﬃculties, relationship problems, parenting, and coping with ill health. Referral services help them connect to other resources in the community and counselling is available to those who need to work out problems and challenges.
Bethany Methodist Nursing Home, Christalite Methodist Home, Agape Methodist Hospice Homecare and Wesley Seniors Activity Centre are aimed at providing crucial nursing care and community support to the elderly who are in need.
We thank God for His faithfulness in the ministry of the MWS and we look forward to the next 30 years of service in His name.
Pearl Lee is the Group Director – Communications & Fund Raising, Methodist Welfare Services.