THE SECOND OF THREE HOPE FAIRS sponsored by Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC) was held at Pentecost Methodist Church on Aug 10, 2009. Supported by volunteers from Bedok, Christ, Living Hope and Pentecost Methodist churches, e Methodist Church in Singapore opened its doors to reach out to some 1,500 members and residents of the neighbouring communities in the spirit of Helping Our People (HOPE).
The New Paper proclaimed, “One line of the pledge reads ‘regardless of race, language or religion’. A day after the nation turned 44, a cluster of churches in the east turned that line into action”.
The Guest-of-Honour, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, lauded the event saying, “Religion can sometimes lead to a certain exclusiveness but the approach taken by the church members today … to reach out to the wider community and to extend help to all is a very positive one.” It was a fair of many firsts. Almost 50 per cent of those who attended were unemployed, aged between 41 and 55, and unchurched. More than 20 per cent were Malays and Indians. With more than 800 jobs on oﬀer, 15 workshops and free legal, money and career coaching clinics throughout the day, there was ample help for visitors to assess new career options and take advantage of training and self-help opportunities.
Workshops on “Money Not Enough”, “Job Hunting Strategies in Tough Times” and “How to start a business with little or no capital” attracted more than 200 participants each. A financial blessing programme launched at the fair benefited 200 families from the Pasir Ris, Tampines and Bedok communities through a one-time love gift.
Finally, a dedicated job portal was launched at HOPE, in conjunction with JobStreet.com, to host job postings from all Methodist agencies and employers who are Methodists. Readers can access the microsite to look for regular job-posting updates at www.jobstreet.com/sg/hope
A Pasir Ris resident, Madam Junaidah Ahmad, who was there to find a job to supplement her family income, summed up the feelings of many who came to seek help: “I’m happy that the church is not only helping its own people but the people staying here.”
The faces of those who felt they had been helped that day said it all … that when help is oﬀered sincerely, it is appreciated by everyone, regardless of race or religion. They will not forget what the church has done and the Lord’s name will be glorified.
The HOPE Fair was a testimony of the love of the Methodist Church to help those in need in times of crises, to show that Methodists care for every person, just as Jesus cares.
Chris Tay is the Chairman of HOPE Fair at Pentecost Methodist Church.
There is still HOPE yet …
AFFECTED BY THE CURRENT ECONOMIC CRISIS? Know someone who has been retrenched? Or you simply want to be better equipped to assist friends or community through the crisis?
Come to the next HOPE (Helping Our People) Fair at Paya Lebar Methodist Church on Oct 17, 2009 from 10 am to 5.30 pm. is is the last in a series of three events and is jointly organised by Ang Mo Kio Methodist Church, Toa Payoh MC, Trinity MC and Paya Lebar MC.
HOPE aims to equip people to overcome the economic crisis they face by (a) providing information on existing resources they can tap on, (b) providing them with practical and immediate help if they are facing diﬃculties, (c) equipping or providing skills training to face changing market trends, and (d) providing resources to those who may be facing potential retrenchment.
HOPE @ Paya Lebar Methodist Church comprises five components:
1. Workshops – Keynote speakers with expertise in various fields will cover three main areas in Cash and Debt Management, Job Hunting Skills and Managing Your Emotions;
2. Clinics – providing one-to-one professional counselling/guidance on legal, credit and resumè/career coaching matters;
3. Employers’ Corner – oﬀering direct jobs, interviews, job-matching service;
4. Exhibitors’ booths – featuring self-help groups, voluntary welfare organisations, training and educational institutes, associations and other organisations; and
5. Career Discovery Talks – discover the career prospects in diverse industries such as health care, social service, training and development, financial planning and management and security management.
Visit the HOPE website now and register online – http://trac-mcs.org.sg/hope
Eugene Kwek is the Outreach Executive of Paya Lebar Methodist Church.