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 July Vicar Writes

31 July 2016

Some Plans for the next half of 2016

By Terry Wong

Last week I shared about the vision and values guiding our staff and lay leaders. Today I share about how this is translated into action for the next 6 months.

Communications Ministry

• The new website will be launched in August. It will also carry online articles, testimonies and ministry reports.

• We will refresh the Welcome Centre to carry information pertinent to the needs of visitors, some of which will be digital.

Christian Education/Small group ministry (ABCDE)

• We have re-launched our Connect Groups (July).

• CE will lay the groundwork for a ‘Rooted in the Word’ programme to be launched in 2017 to help our members to be biblically literate and equipped.

• Discipleship Training to be planned and launched in 2017.

Missions

• Missions Month in November in all our Services, including a Missions Evening, to promote and celebrate our SAC missions work.

Community Services

• Community Service emphasis in October (CITY/SACS/Medical) at some of our Services.

Services

• To encourage post-Service refreshment time, where possible, for community interaction.

• Monthly Visitors Lunch to start on the last Sunday of Aug at CWC, 1 pm.

• Start the eleven: 30 Service on Sunday. Launch date is 25th Sept at the Chapel.

Outreach

• To build up our Alpha Course with evangelism integral to the life of our community.

• To work with Myanmar Congregation to reach foreigners on our ground.

• Christmas@Cathedral 2016 to be run in partnership with our neighbours.

• To improve our historical tours, train our guides, redo our signs and info boards.

• Advent Concert with Corpus Christi Choir in early December.

Current facilities

• Launch Café in October.

• Refresh the Welcome Centre, reopen link to the Chapel.

• Renovate West House, Prayer Halls, CNS classrooms, and toilets at North Transept.

• Work on plans to provide cover for Amphitheatre/North-east lawn.

24 July 2016

What we can see for SAC

By Terry Wong

In my first year here as Vicar, I have met many of you who have shared with me your aspirations for our Cathedral. The staff has also been praying and reflecting on the vision and values which guide our work and ministry. I sum up some of these thoughts below. 

A Home in the City

A place where members and guests love to visit - may it be for prayer, Bible study or to meet with friends. A clean and welcoming place with benches, tables and chairs, a well-kept garden and multilingual signage. Being welcoming is more than just about the facilities. As members of St Andrew’s, we seek to be warm and friendly to all. We appreciate feedback and will respond to enquiries. 

A Hub in the City

We seek to be good stewards of our Christian, cultural and historical heritage. Located in the civic district and among the institutions of government, the arts and history, we have opportunity to connect with our neighbours and share our heritage with all. St Andrew’s has a significant place in the history of Singapore since its founding, and we will continue to play our part in the progress of this nation. Informative boards and literature about our church presented with tours of the Cathedral, choral events, pipe organ recitals and exhibitions from time to time, will be used in this work.

A Church in the City

We have the privilege of living out our faith in the city. Drawing out the best of our Anglican heritage, we want to be a vibrant church that reaches out to a diverse and urban population – young and old, sojourners, rich and poor. Services are conducted in many languages and our ministries strive to reach people in need of the Lord. Amidst the busyness of the city, St Andrew’s is a quiet place where one can find solace and seek peace with God. 

May this vision guide us as followers of Christ at St Andrew’s. 

17 July 2016

Happenings

By Terry Wong
If you have been following the 40-Day Prayer Guide, you would have noticed how well written each daily devotion is. Having preached through some parts of the Epistle of James recently, there is really nothing like going through it again simply to drink of it without any thought of using it to preach from etc. I am tempted to repeat some of the writings here but I do ask that you take the time to go through it on a daily basis. For example, in just going through the July 11 entry “Worthy Worship”, the reader would have been given pause at many points to reflect on your life. It is really a gem of a devotional and I am sure it has been a great blessing. It is still not too late to get a copy and if you need one, do leave your name at the Welcome Centre and we will try to get it for you. 

The fact is, we do need daily reminders and constant encouragement to stay on course. As Scripture has said, sin is always crouching at the door, and daily, we do need to “stand still” and reflect before the mirror of His Word so that we may clearly see our own heart conditions. There is a wonderful quote from Søren Kierkegaard in July 10’s “Mirror Mirror”: “A mirror has the quality of enabling a person to see his image in it, but to do this he must stand still.” How true.

Incidentally, the Connect Groups have also been going through the book of James. You will find that you will remember a lot more of what you discussed compared to what you hear in sermons. Participating and discussing, as we all know, is a more effective way of learning and internalising biblical truth. I am hearing that new Connect Groups are being formed. Do drop an email to connect@cathedral.org.sg if you would like to join one. 

For the seniors in our midst, do take note of the coming Seniors Members Fellowship (SMF) event with the talk curiously entitled “Fall Reduction Strategies.” For those who are younger, this is not about how to manage your funds after Brexit. I wish my 80+ year old Mama could attend the talk but even if she could, she would not be able to understand English. As always, please invite someone along whom you think would benefit from this. This event is also an opportunity to share the faith (verbally and communally) with an unbeliever. 

On the property and maintenance front, we are looking into renovating the West House and various parts of the Prayer Halls and Welcome Centre. With the project being spearheaded by the Mandarin Congregation, we are almost ready to submit the drawings for the new lift at the South Transept for the authorities to evaluate and approve. We are also looking at providing some form of covering at the amphitheatre or the area outside the Prayer Hall to facilitate post-Service gathering and provision of refreshments. The Finance & Property Committee (FPC) is also aware that parts of the Cathedral building are in need of repairs, repainting. 

Some 610 organ pipes are in need of restoration and this project is spearheaded by a joint-congregation organ committee to provide direction and advice. The team is also considering the relocation of the pipes. This is of course a major project but we are encouraged that there are already private donations given in support of this refurbishment and relocation. History, culture and the arts have had their place in the Cathedral and this is also about our stewardship of resources entrusted to our care, for the city and future generations. 

I gave a sweeping overview of our weekend Services last Sunday. We have two weekday Services. Our Auxiliary Priest, the Revd Soon Soo Kee, takes charge of the Wednesday Communion and the

Revd Timothy Chow (to be replaced by the Revd Bertram soon) takes care of the Thursday Service. Bertram is already serving at the Westside Anglican Church (WAC), anticipating Timothy’s move to CCK on 1st Sept. The Revd Michael Lim has moved his office to My Saviour’s Church. The Acts Congregation is enjoying worshipping in this Church’s premises and the use of facilities in the weekday means that the community can gather beyond Sunday. We continue to pray that they will be a blessing to the Indian Congregation and the surrounding neighbourhood. 

We gather again for prayer this Friday. Let’s continue to wait upon the Lord and be aligned to His will and purposes.?

10 July 2016

Weekly Services

By Terry Wong

Currently, we have 7 English Services in SAC. Each Service in the Cathedral is led by a Service Pastor (clergy or deaconess), who is assisted by a leadership team comprising both staff and lay. 

  At the 4.30pm Saturday Service, Revd Freddy Lim has recently taken over from Revd Alvin Toh. It has a special focus on reaching young families. They started a post-Service tea refreshment recently, to build community and reach out to visitors. During this Ordinary Time in our church calendar (Pentecost to Advent), each Service is planning its own sermon series. This Service is focusing on the Book of Jonah. 

 Deaconess June Tan pastors the 7am and 5pm Sunday Services. They are currently focusing on the issue of Worship in their sermon series. 7am Service uses the Book of Common Prayer in her liturgy, and it actually starts at 6.40am with contemporary worship. At the 5pm Service, Holy Communion is celebrated alternatively with Mattins (Evensong). 

 Revd Peter Cook pastors the 8am and 11.15am Services. The nature of these Services are traditionally Anglican, with the Sung Eucharist at 8am. While undoubtedly seeded by past missionaries with their different churchmanship, these Services have also evolved from our own local soil. The 11.15am Service is the largest in SAC with 600+ worshippers, stretching the physical space at the Nave to her limits. This is understandable given the popular late morning slot. The post 8am Service breakfast is very important as a gathering point to connect with each other and welcome visitors. We are seeking to build up the ministry of the Word, and the wonderful choir led by Lim Chin Kai is constantly seeking to lead and inspire the congregation to worship. Our deacon, Revd Alvin Toh, also serves here and having not grown up in an Anglican Church, this attachment is important ftor his enculturation. During the next three months, the sermon series is based on the Book of Nehemiah. 

 Deaconess Bessie pastors the 9am Service which meets at CNS. The 9am Service is contemporary in nature. This is a strong 500+ congregation with the largest Sunday School work, understandable given the attraction of this Service to young families. They are focusing on the Book of Nehemiah during this period. Given the physical setting of CNS, providing crèche facilities for young families can be challenging and even if children worship with us, the noise they make can be easily amplified, making it more difficult for the congregation to focus on the sermon. Efforts are constantly being made to address these needs. 

 The 7.30pm Service is going through a transition. She will hold her last Service last Sunday of September. With Revd Timothy Chow being posted to be Vicar in Chapel of Christ the King, we have prayed  and sense that it is time for change. Closing or changing something can always be difficult. We often associate starting new things as a move of God. But closing something is equally a work of God, for with every end of a former vision, it is also an opportunity for new ones to be birthed. In fact, change is a sign of growth and life. We do not want to rest on decisions made in the past but to be alive to what the Lord is doing and saying today. We are planning to encourage the regulars at this Service to join and serve in the other Services. 

 It is important to note that the pastors and leaders are not just focused on running Services. In fact the bulk of their weekly ministry time is spent on pastoral care, running Connect groups, visiting the sick, preparing couples for marriage and so on. 

 I should add that the Myanmar Service, Bahasa Service, Filipino Service and Hokkien Service are also under our pastoral care. The Myanmar Service is an important partnership ministry with the Church of the Province of Myanmar. And it is wonderfully growing. During these next few months, three clergy from Myanmar, Revd Sa Myint Htoo, Revd Brang Mai and Revd Ngwe Thein are spending their Sabbatical with us and serving in this Service. Please welcome them.

 Some of you will know by now that we are looking into starting a new Service in late Sunday morning. Pastor Hambali and a very able team of staff and lay leaders are spearheading this project. We are also regularly praying, mindful of a new wind the Spirit is stirring as we seek to reach out to young urbanites. This service will be modern and has a “wineskin” that carries current language, ethos and ways to connect to people; but no less, build on our Anglican catholic heritage and Scripture. We value your prayers. 

 We also have two church plants: Acts Centre and Westside Anglican Church. I will share more about them on another occasion.

 Strong Services, supported by active Connect Groups, will be key to the growth of SAC. And I firmly believe that a strong local church will impact the world in all sorts of ways, including reaching the world with the gospel.

We will also need strong support from our admin staff. Daily, we face a myriad of challenges and not unlike the incident in Acts 6, where “small needs” need just as much Spirit-filled attention so that “the Word may increase.” We have appointed Vivien Chen to be the Director of Adminstration and Operations in SAC. She will lead our Admin staff in this new season. We are grateful for her willingness to serve and doing so “pro bono.” Please keep her in your payers. 

3 July 2016

God is at work in SAC

By Terry Wong
We had a very encouraging trip, visiting Holy Trinity Bukit Bintang (HTBB) Church in Kuala Lumpur on the weekend of 18-19th June. Our Vicar’s warden, Keith Chua and his wife, Irene, were with us too. HTBB is a two year old Anglican Church which has grown to 600+. When Archbishop Moon Hing was last here, he shared about this amazing work. We met Revd Miles Toulmin and heard about how the Lord has led them to pioneer this work. Youthful, lively and with the Alpha Courses being run regularly, this new Church is reaching young urbanites.

I also met the Asia Pacific Alpha Director and was amazed by how the Alpha work has grown. Some of you may know that I was very involved in the work of Alpha Singapore from 1999 to 2006, where we played a part to seed the work in Malaysia and Asia Pacific. 

The question we in SAC are praying over now is how some of these connections can help SAC to open new doors to reach people of today. The Spirit has been stirring and we sense that He could use some of these connections for His wider Kingdom purposes. I came away refreshed and encouraged by what the Lord is doing, which is as always, so much larger than our ability to see ahead or keep up with changing times.

I preached and celebrated at our Myanmar Service last Sunday and met the leaders after that. This Service is growing and there is a wonderful atmosphere and spiritual hunger! It comprises people from all walks of life, from professionals to domestic helpers. This is what a church should be. We also spent time talking about how we may minister to the many Myanmar persons visiting our grounds every Sunday. They have already started English language classes for them. More ways to reach them are being planned.

With sadness, we bid farewell and wish the Lord’s blessings on Revd John Lin as he moves on to serve as Vicar at St John’s Chapel. He has served in our community very well as a “shepherd-pastor”. We will also miss Connie and their children, Grace, Charis and Timothy.

We also welcome Revd Bertram Cheong and Cherlie as they start their ministry in SAC. Bertram will serve as Service Pastor (Priest-in-charge) of our Westside Anglican Church congregation. Bertram participated in the Tribute programme in St John’s Chapel where he transitioned into full-time ministry. He finished his training in Trinity Theological College in 2011 and was ordained to the diaconate in November 2011 and priested in 2013. 

He is married to Cherlie Cheong, on 8th August last year. His hobbies and passion include anything military, especially nuclear submarines!

As already mentioned, Revd Timothy Chow will be posted out to serve as Vicar of Chapel of Christ the King w.e.f. 1st September. 

We also express our condolences to our Dean and Bishop, Bishop Rennis and Amir at the loss of Amir’s mother (Mrs Florence Caldwell) on 21 June. She was a godly woman and this legacy is seen in each of her children and their families. Bishop Rennis and Amir are on Sabbatical from June till September. 

1st of July marks my first year of ministry in SAC. I want to thank each of you for being welcoming and making this community a warm one for Jennifer and myself. Changes are to be expected in this “new season” and I ask for your prayers as I continue to pastor, lead and make decisions. With each change, some could be affected negatively. I ask for your patience and the Lord’s strength to have in view the Lord’s wider and longterm purpose for SAC. May I have the courage, humility and wisdom: qualities I was challenged recently to pray for by another very experienced minister. 

During this month, we are promoting our Connect Group ministry. There are now 78 Connect Groups in the Cathedral, involving almost 900 members. I am sure you can find one which you can be a part of. In all my years of ministry in urban Singapore, I have found small groups (Cell or Connect) to be almost indispensable for a primal experience of church life. 

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.

Recent Vicar Writes

31 July Some Plans for the next half of 2016
24 July What we can see for SAC
17 July Happenings
10 July Weekly Services
3 July God is at work in SAC