Serving God in humility – from Australia to Singapore

Sep 2014    
Tokens of humble service: Hand-stitched pew cushions in the Port Arthur chapel (left) and cross-stitched tissue packet covers by the women of the Methodist Church of the Incarnation (right).

What a privilege to be a child of God, and to be involved in this wonderful ministry. Indeed I have learned much and grown spiritually in WSCS.

Iwas reluctant to visit the historic site of Port Arthur in Tasmania a second time. I had been there about 20 years ago, and had felt an indescribable sadness after I learnt that it had been a prison for people sent there in the 19th century. They included young children who had been convicted of petty crimes, like stealing a loaf of bread because of hunger and poverty.

I imagined that conditions must have been harsh and miserable, a place of no escape a long, long way from their homes in England.

But I went along, as it was part of the itinerary planned by my daughter. Who would have thought that this time round, a surprise find inspired a successful project in Singapore?

This time, I came across a small chapel which I had missed on my first visit. I wondered whether the Port Arthur prisoners found God’s peace and comfort here. Did this serene place offer them refuge and solace from the hardships they endured?

As I stepped into the chapel, I was struck by the many rows of pew cushions, each covered with hand-sewn cross-stitched designs that were all similar. A small notice on the wall read: “The pew cushions in our church were a gift from St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Sandy Bay, Hobart. They were hand-worked by ladies of that congregation and the design includes the keys which are the symbol of Saint Peter.”

Wow! What a rare treasure! Here was tangible proof, silently testifying to me of the love of God, shown through the skilled nimble fingers of these ladies.

The memory of those pew cushions, sewn with love and humility, inspired me to challenge my Women’s Society of Christian Service (WSCS) members to sew a little gift to bless the ladies on WSCS Sunday in May. This would also be in line with the General Conference WSCS theme for the year: “Serving God in Humility” (1 Peter 5:6). We decided to sew cross-stitch pocket tissue covers.

Initially the target of sewing 200 pieces was daunting. Many of our ladies declared that they could not sew, or had not done cross-stich since school days, or were too busy with their jobs and family.

But in the end, God’s hand was at work in this project right through, as 20 volunteers came together to stitch 230 pieces, exceeding our target. It was also gratifying that even young ladies, youths and teens, came forward to help their mothers with the sewing. It was a humble, priceless gift done with God’s love. What a privilege to be a child of God, and to be involved in this wonderful ministry. Indeed I have learned much and grown spiritually in WSCS.


Photos courtesy of Ms Kathryn Ong

Kathryn Ong is the Discipleship & Nurture Coordinator of the Women’s Society of Christian Service chapter in the Methodist Church of the Incarnation (MCI). She also serves as an Honorary Steward in the Local Church Executive Committee of MCI.


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