being fishers of men
We had a Confirmation Service two Sundays ago. It is a great joy to see the spiritual journey each has taken, with some starting as seekers in previous Alpha Courses. I was also deeply warmed by the time of fellowship spent with Bishop Moses Tay and Cynthia. They have a deep and evergreen faith and earnest love for the Lord which have always inspired me, whether when I first started as a parish worker or presently as a Vicar.
The Alpha Course started with the Intro Dinner last Wednesday. It was very encouraging with 190 people participating, more than half being guests. As always, numbers only indicate to us the level of interest in the Course, and when it comes to sharing Christ, it is always about the immense worth of one person: his life, his history and the love and plans that God has for him or her. Another encouraging thing to note is the higher than usual number of younger guests and the involvement of those from the eleven:30 Service, which is certainly adding to this dynamic.
Last weekend, we were blessed by the preaching ministry of our young deacon, Revd Alvin Toh. Over at the eleven:30 Service, Pas Hambali launched the sermon series based on the book of Philippians.
On the 11th of February, our medical work amongst migrant workers received some recognition. At the 80th Anniversary of Mar Thoma Church, DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam presented a plaque of appreciation, which was received by Dr Joseph Thambiah.
It has been a while, but the Diocese also made two new deaconesses. Ds Laura Seet has served many years as a parish worker in St John’s-St Margaret’s Church. In fact she was one of my first colleagues when I started my ministry there with campus students. Ds Anong is the founding pastor of Banchang Anglican Church (Thailand). She has a deep love for people and great evangelistic zeal. Astute observers should be able to see that our sisters play critical roles in ministry, leading and preaching in the life of the Church, whether lay or fulltime. Gender is never an issue to influence (and that to me is real leadership) and ministry, and indeed the office or positions are often over-rated. When the church is liberated by the Spirit and His Word, the Body will rise up to ministry and this is what our Diocese has been experiencing. In our Cathedral alone, we can see that to be true. Jesus once said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Follow Jesus and each of us can live influential lives.
And talking about influence, I was very encouraged just listening to the eulogies given at Marian Tay’s wake. She is Canon Louis Tay’s sister. In spite of her struggle for 19 years with cancer and other challenges, she has lived out her life faithfully to the Lord. Some others have the amazing privilege to live beyond the expected life span, such as the late Bishop Chiu Ban It. His life is marked by a childlike obedience to the Lord. The first Asian Bishop of Singapore, he was never enamoured by the trappings that came with the office in those early post-colonial days. Instead, he babbled like a child when he allowed the Spirit to fill Him and did many things that one will not expect a respectable Anglican Bishop to do. The Diocese is what she is today, and in part, we have our “founding spiritual fathers” to thank. This Friday evening, at the memorial Service, your faith will be inspired just by being there. He joined the throng of heavenly witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) who inspires us not just with their cheering from the stands, but from the footprints they have left behind for us on the tracks.