A NEW WEB PORTAL aimed at facilitating the participation of Methodists in community work was unveiled by the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) at its 30th Anniversary anksgiving Dinner.
Dr Lee Wee Leong, Board member of the MWS and Chairman of the IT Sub-Committee, presented to dinner guests the portal, which has the aim of bringing the Methodist community to new heights in communicating about social concerns ministries, creating awareness of social issues and mobilising volunteers to action.
Methodists can join the portal to be part of the larger social concerns community, discuss the issues of the day, and pool their resources. The portal has interactive features that will also allow communication and interaction among churches on social concerns. is includes social media features like Facebook, which is used in recent times by many organisations, including non–profit and charity organisations, to connect with their stakeholders and for them to give feedback in an informal way. ere is also a “Church Community” section where Methodist churches can share their social concerns ministries and activities.
“As the umbrella social concerns arm of e Methodist Church in Singapore, the MWS aims for the new portal to be the platform for the Methodist community for all things regarding social concerns: sharing of ideas, advocacy for people in need, collaboration of resources and meeting our outreach objectives together,” said Ms Jenny Bong, Group Executive Director of the MWS.
The connection between the MWS and the Methodist churches
The involvement of Methodists in community work is not new. The anksgiving Dinner held on Oct 28, 2011, was fully sponsored by a Methodist member, and commemorated the 30 years that MWS had spent caring for and serving the underprivileged in Singapore. Representatives from 32 churches, the Methodist schools, and government and grassroots leaders made up the more than 400 guests present. ree pioneers of the MWS received commendation for their pioneering spirit and Christian love.
The MWS was started in 1981 by dedicated Methodists, among them Mr Peter Joe Chia, Mr Cheong Seng Hock, Mr Richard Tambyah, Dr Patrick Kee and Mr David Ong. Starting with the Home for the Aged Sick, the MWS grew over the past 30 years and now has a dozen centres and outreach points.
Since the beginning, Methodist churches have been among the biggest supporters of the MWS, said Mr Chia in an interview with Uncommon Voices. He shared that the Methodist community gave readily. On top of money, the Home received donations of rice and sugar.
But the relationship between the MWS and the churches went far beyond donations and contributions. e MWS was made up of the Methodist community. In the early days, the MWS had only one full-time staﬀ, and relied on volunteers, mostly from the churches. By God’s grace, the MWS has expanded its services, with more than 340 staﬀ and thousands of volunteers.
Spirituality and serving the needy
At the dinner, Bishop Dr Robert Solomon shared an anecdote about John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. At a time when men would often cut their hair to wear wigs, Wesley refused to do the same. Instead, he would let his locks grow long. is was so that the money he saved on the haircuts could be used to help the poor and the needy.
“Serving those in need is a Wesleyan heritage”, said the Bishop. John Wesley considered reaching out to the needy and other works of mercy an essential aspect of his salvation in Christ.
This serving of the poor and needy is no mean task. e early church leaders had delegated this responsibility of serving to the deacons, but it was by no means a downgrading of this ministry, the Bishop said. On the contrary, it showed that it was as spiritual a task as the ministry of the Word and prayer.
Bishop Dr Solomon pointed out that serving the poor and needy is the demonstration of the Gospel, and goes hand in hand with the proclamation of the Gospel in the early church. Because the apostles and deacons each fulfilled their ministries as called, the early church grew and flourished
The MWS welcomes all churches, congregations and community partners to visit the portal and to interact with us. Visit us at www.mws.org.sg and you can contact Mr Chuang Bing Han at 6467-4631, or email him at ChuangBingHan@mws.org.sg if you would like more information on the new portal.
Chuang Bing Han is the Web Editor, Communications and Fund-raising, of the Methodist Welfare Services.