Vicar Writes

Vicar Writes

ABOUT THE VICAR

Terry Wong Photo

Revd Canon Terry Wong is the Vicar of the Cathedral. He writes weekly for the weekend Service bulletins and the articles are posted on this site.

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All 2016 June Vicar Writes

26 June 2016

A cross-shaped 159 year-old building in the heart of the city

By Terry Wong

This is an amazing photo. It was taken from a drone (a small flying helicopter with camera) by Idroneman. Some of you have already seen it online but we thought that printing it here will allow the rest to have a view. This is our prayer:

Dear Lord,

May we be a community, walking in the footsteps of Jesus Christ and exemplify to the city

His truth and love.

May they know we are His disciples by our love. (John 13:35)

May they know our Father through our good works of love, mercy and compassion.

(Matthew 5:16)

May we continue to be salt and light in the world, encouraging that which is good and

holding back that which is evil. (Matthew 5:13,14, Luke 14:34,35)

Amen.

19 June 2016

Reflections from the Batam Camp

By Terry Wong
We have attended all three Camps. We managed to get to know some members better. We have met some amazing people and got a glimpse into their spiritual journey. Each camp was a different experience, reflecting the riches and depth of our community. I have also had deep conversations about ministry issues and discerning together what the Lord is doing in this new season.

At the last one this week in Batam, we were blessed by the ministry of my retired colleague, Revd George Tay and his wife, Eunice. George has always struck me as someone who cared more for his relationship with God than accomplishing things in the church. A couple marked by love and discipline, in this season, they are pouring their lives to the ministry of discipleship in Sarawak. Eunice is also a member of SAC.

Two things stood out for me in this Camp in Batam. First, I am reminded of the importance of community. It is a word that is bandied around but really, what does that word mean? Some see community as a means to other more important ends. What if to love another is to love Christ? Just love. Period, without any qualifications. As I meet a very diverse membership in SAC, I am reminded that you don’t choose the people you want to like, love or think well of. I encounter Christ in the other, sometimes an unfamiliar experience, and that becomes an opportunity to grow.

Am I a community builder? Do I bring people together? Or do I cause people to be suspicious of one another and erect barriers? To love is to accept and welcome another. “Accept one another as Christ has accepted you (Romans 15:7).” To accept another is not secondary to Christian love. It is at the heart of it. We see that happening all the time in Jesus’ ministry, even to his dying breath (the criminal on the cross).

We are to create a space where the other feels a sense of welcome and room to be himself or herself. We incarcerate the other when we force him/her to conform to our expectations.

Secondly, Geroge shared a story of a pastor who towards the end of his life realized that he has been doing ministry for himself. “You did it for yourself.” That was the startling revelation. I am strongly reminded again, am I doing what I do for the Lord or for myself? Before I give the politically correct answer, I really need to pause and reflect deeply. For our motives are so terribly mixed. As prophet Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all else.”

And as Paul exemplified for us, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Ephesians 1:21) We may well be saying the opposite, “For me to live is to gain for myself, and to die, a great loss to humanity.” I would like to challenge every one of my staff and lay leaders in the Cathedral to ponder prayerfully on this question. If we are doing it only for ourselves, no matter how fruitful the ministry outwardly seems to be - and in Singapore riches with resources and possibilities the wheels keep turning - it will not bring glory to the Lord nor will it be pleasing to Him. It will be wood, hay and stubble, unable to stand the test of time, especially when we face setbacks or during leaner periods. Unless we are able to be in this together for the long haul, with shared values in Christ buried deep in our hearts, it can only in the end hurt the community.

Live for others. Live for Him. That sums up the greatest commandment, doesn’t it? SAC can be much for the Lord when we serve selflessly. And while at it, a happier and loving community, and a lasting legacy that we will leave behind for future generations. 

12 June 2016

Love Deeply but Hold Lightly

By Terry Wong
We had about 150 of us gathered at Desaru for the Sat 4.30 pm and Sun 9 am Congregation Camp. Revd Chris Royer from Anglican Frontier Missions was our speaker. 

Chris had served on the “frontier” as a missionary in some of the most difficult areas. He shared many encouraging stories of “untamed faith”, something we Singaporeans needed to hear. We are too used to living our lives and practising our faith well within the safety and comfort zone of our urban city. We need to “let go of the ropes.” He also spoke about the need for holiness and living an uncompromised life in this day and age. 

Other aspects of the Camp was fun, refreshing and community building. We were enriched just being led to worship the Lord. Malaysian food always seemed a bit more ethnic though there were also Johorean flies to swat in this seaside resort. There were also some children centered activities. 

All in all, it was a great Camp and those who are going for the third one (8 & 1115 am at Batam) can expect an enriching time too.

Revd Alvin Toh was made a deacon recently. As a part of his training, we have felt it right to have him serving actively at the 8 and 1115 am Services under the mentoring leadership of Revd Peter Cook. As always, enculturation is the best way for one to learn to be familiar and comfortable with Anglican tradition and manner of worship. We also hope that Alvin will be more acquainted with members from these more established Services. This means that he has to relinquish his role as Service Pastor at 4.30 pm Sat (previously 5 pm). Revd Freddy Lim will play that role w.e.f. 1st July, on top of his responsibilities as Pastor of the Hokkien Service. They will both appreciate your prayers and support.

Revd Timothy Chow will also be posted out w.e.f. 1st Sept to serve as Vicar of The Chapel of Christ the King. Revd Bertram Cheong will join SAC w.e.f. 1st July and he will replace Timothy as Priest-in-charge of the Westside Anglican Church, apart from other ministry roles in SAC. Do welcome him and his wife, Cherlie warmly. 

We will also bid farewell to Revd John Lin, Connie and their children, Grace, Charis and Timothy. W.e.f. 1st July, he will be the Vicar of St John’s Chapel. They have been a very integral part of the 9 am Congregation (which helped plant the Sat Service) and he will be deeply missed. 

We remind ourselves to “love deeply but hold lightly.” In the seasons of life with its ebb and flow, we know of a love that is ever present and lodges deep even as we learn to let go, move on and form new relationships in the Lord. We don’t develop long term emotional attachment except for only one: to our Lord Jesus Christ and avail our hearts to every brother and sister that he brings to our path. And we remind ourselves that our lives are very transient as we build into eternity where we shall one day be gathered before Him. May every friendship in the Lord find its full and eternal riches on that day.


5 June 2016

Keeping you updated

By Terry Wong

The Nidaros Cathedral Boys’ Choir Concert raised about $20,000 for CITY Community Services. Sacred music was sung that evening, and when our choir joined them for the Hallelujah Chorus finale, that was a very moving experience. The whole cathedral reverberated with the words of the hymn “To God be the glory” and that was a reminder that we are not just a concert audience but a congregation gathered to worship God.   

Apart from fund-raising, an event like this is also an expression of our desire to “give back” to the city. The programme booklet was superbly designed and also explained Cathedral’s place as a place of culture and music. We hope to periodically use the Cathedral to host cultural or musical events. I want to take this opportunity to thank Patricia Aw, Vivien Chen and various staff who have worked to ensure the success of this event.  

The current Alpha Course has just come to an end. What a ride it has been! About 30 have either signed up for the next baptism Course or channeled to Connect Groups. The ambience at the amphitheater is fantastic in the evening. The food cooked by the ladies is “home-warming.” The leaders and helpers at the Course are loving and friendly. I think this is what church needs to be towards an enquiring world! The next one is starting in July. Begin to pray and think about who you can invite.    

In early July, we will have the commissioning of all our Connect Group Leaders. This will be done by Services, led by the Service Pastor. The Connect Group offers a rich opportunity to experience community, friendships and grow in your faith. If you have yet to join one, approach the Service Pastors or staff.  

In the planning of our sermon series, we are guided by the church calendar and lectionary from Advent to Trinity Sunday. For the period of July to September, being Ordinary time, Service Pastors will plan special preaching emphases for each of their Services. In October, we will plan together again and give some focus to Community Services and in November, to cross-cultural Missions work. 

In Christian Education, we have been intentional in slowing down in 2016 to take a breather and ask all the necessary questions for what is needed in the new season. I read deeply, as most of you are aware and I am a firm believer in the need for systematic and good education. By default, the world dictates what we learn and obviously, an agenda on hot button issues are now being constantly pushed through. Think of the wide and ubiquitous influence of BBC radio and now increasingly, TED. Undoubtedly, the media had always played a role in shaping private and public opinions, for better or worse. We have to think strategically, going beyond organising adhoc courses and to consider a more systematic and multi-platform approach, including a better use of online media.  

As for youths, we are keen to be intentional and create prime space for them to connect with each other and to serve and even lead. Some are passionate and bold lions in their schools and quiet passive Siamese cats when they come to church. This should not be. If they are not passionate about God in the Cathedral, either they will drop out of their faith eventually or join another church when they are able. I think we all agree that a vibrant youth community is needed in SAC. Stay tuned as some exciting developments are being prayerfully planned.  

Our Children Ministry leaders are also hard at work at finding ways to grow our ministry to children. Some have made official visits to other churches to learn best practices or simply, be inspired. We have church

grown kids and those we are reaching through our Community Services. When and how can the twain meet? Pray tell. Or maybe not.

We are prayerfully seeking for fresh ideas. Pray with us.    


ABOUT THE VICAR

Terry Wong Photo

Revd Canon Terry Wong is the Vicar of the Cathedral. He writes weekly for the weekend Service bulletins and the articles are posted on this site.