There is beauty in diversity and we each have different strengths and expertise, resources from our different cultures, ways and means of ministry. But if the 46 churches can come together to share what they are doing, we would have a much more powerful impact, more resources, greater experiences and a wider reach to deal with challenges and constraints.
When COVID-19 caused the churches to have to explore online resources, The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS), under the leadership of Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung, consolidated the Methodist churches’ online streaming or recorded service links onto one page of the MCS website. It is amazing how much diversity there is: traditional and contemporary services; services in Cantonese, English, Hakkan, Hinghwa, Hokkien, Mandarin, to name a few.
My 87-year-old mother attends the Mandarin worship services in the morning with Ang Mo Kio CMC, then with Queenstown CMC; later, at 2pm, she joins Wesley MC’s Mandarin Ministry on Zoom. She is richly blessed by the various worship services and the different preachers’ messages.
MCS would be so much richer if Methodist members should share their resources to meet the needs of the other Church members, such as:
- children’s and youth ministries, e.g. online or on Facebook Live. (We just heard that Charis MC held an online junior youth camp!)
- A virtual academy could be created to hold online discipleship classes, Bible study series and webinars. We can share resources and have gifted persons lead in the studies, so that members might benefit Church-wide and get to know members from other Methodist churches.
- Groups can reach out to Methodists across all churches as part of One MCS initiatives (e.g. the upcoming Methodist Fathers Gathering).
Outreach to foreign worker dormitories
Some Methodist churches are serving dormitories by adopting a dorm and providing the workers there with food and essentials. One such opportunity came when Pastor Juliette Arulrajah shared about the ministry of AGWO (a government-sanctioned non-governmental organisation ministering in the dormitories) to TRAC and other Methodist churches.
One of those that responded quickly to the call for drivers to deliver iftar meals was Bedok MC. Pastor-in-Charge the Rev Khoo Kay Huat, lay leader Sabrina Ng and her husband Hock Ching, LCEC Vice-Chair Low Chia Wing began, and they now have a pool of 34 drivers from their church delivering meals. Serena Gan, PRPC Chairperson, elaborates: “Each morning at 2 a.m., our assigned drivers pick up the food at a caterer at Admiralty and deliver it to dormitories in Sungei Kadut, Tuas and Jurong. Bedok MC hopes to continue to be God’s hands and feet to bless and reach out to our migrant workers.”
These are the “foreigner[s] residing among us” (Deut 10:18–19, NIV) that God wants us to show love to. Some of members doing the meal delivery have persuaded their pre-believing family members to help out, which is an excellent opportunity for family bonding as well as for them to see “faith in action”.
The other Methodist Churches that are also working with AGWO at this time of writing are Trinity, Wesley, Cairnhill, Faith, Living Hope and Covenant Community. Many other Methodist churches are also helping in food or giving.
Toa Payoh MC was the first to provide shelter to rough sleepers and since then, some other Methodist churches have asked about Toa Payoh’s experience and learning points in starting the same ministry, which Pastor-in-Charge the Rev Reuben Ng shared about during a Pastors’ Fellowship.
At the time of writing, sister churches Ang Mo Kio MC/CMC/TMC, Bedok MC, Charis MC and Faith MC have been approved by the authorities to house rough sleepers within their church premises for the duration of the circuit breaker. The ministry involves providing a room, mattresses with clean sheets and meals. When churches share their experiences of ministry, it is more impactful and easier for adoption.
We look forward to more One MCS initiatives and sharing.
Henry Tan is the Vice President of TRAC and a member of the core team of the Structural Review Task Force. / Photo courtesy of Ang Mo Kio MC