An indication of a closely knit body of Christ is found in Queenstown Chinese Methodist Church (QCMC) and Faith Methodist Church (FMC), which counts among them members from the same families. They go way back to the 1960s when the Methodist Church initiated the ‘Queenstown Methodist Church Pioneer Work’ project, as Queenstown was being developed as Singapore’s earliest HDB town. The result was QCMC and FMC, which share the same church building. Starting from Dec 1964, FMC focused on English-language work, and QCMC did Chinese-language work.
On 21 Aug 1966, QCMC was established as a local church and was attached to Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church (TACMC). Some TACMC members moved into Queenstown at that time and began to attend QCMC services, which was constituted into a Local Conference on 5 Dec 1976.
The working relationship between FMC and QCMC has become even closer, as the current pastors-in-charge of both churches – the Rev Edwin Wong (FMC), the Rev Goh Aik Hiang (QCMC) – and the Rev See Swee Fang (FMC) were members of QCMC.
QCMC’s mission is to be a disciple-making church where lives are transformed through Worship, Fellowship, rooted in the Word, Serving and Reaching out to the community. Their outreach extends to the Mandarin, Hokkien, and Cantonese-speaking residents living within and around the Queenstown estate, and also staff and students of the nearby schools and tertiary institutions.
QCMC is one of the few churches that continue to minister to and nurture their congregations through Fellowships, i.e. big-group meetings. There are five age-level Fellowships and one Fellowship specially organised for worshippers from China. There are also six small groups, of which three are location-based according to district, one is a Reading Club, one caters to young working adults and another to East Malaysians. Altogether, QCMC has set up 22 committees and working groups to meet the needs of ministries that have expanded significantly since the 1960s.
All Sunday services, Fellowships and group meetings, Church School lessons and lay training are conducted in Chinese; this brings both advantages and challenges for the church. The use of Chinese certainly does not hinder the growth of the church. This is reflected through the continual growth of the congregation size over the past 50 years and there will likely be many people looking to attend Chinese-speaking churches in the future. As of Dec 2015, the church has 1,520 members. There are three Mandarin services, one Hokkien service and one Cantonese service, with an average weekly attendance of 1,330 worshippers.
The key challenge is to help the English-speaking children of church members embrace the church’s mission to minister to the Chinese-speaking community and congregation. Doing so will motivate them to stay on and to develop themselves to become future church leaders and ministry staff.
In his message during QCMC’s 25th Anniversary, the Pioneer Work Pastor, the Rev T. C. Nga, said: “Reflecting on the past years, I can still remember how the two congregations, though speaking different languages, could work together hand in hand for the advancement of God’s Kingdom.”
The QCMC congregation at their Easter Sunday Service.
Photos courtesy of QCMC
We continue our series of profiling local churches from our three Annual Conferences of The Methodist Church in Singapore. As we come to have a better understanding of each other’s history and ministry, we may discover more opportunities to forge cross-church partnerships and collaborations.
Hoon Tien Ghun is Archives and History Committee Chairperson and Church Governance Committee Chairperson of the LCEC of Queenstown Chinese Methodist Church