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7 August 2016 | Vicar Writes

A Weekend at the Cathedral

By Terry Wong

Last Saturday morning began with the Christmas@Cathedral planning meeting. Ably helmed by Hambali and an enthusiastic team, we discussed the details of the programme, decorations, tours, linking up with our neighbours and so on. The team is building on the template and experience gleaned from last year’s event.

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I was at the farewell party for Revd Timothy Chow and Revd John Lin later in the day. It began with the epic futsal match between “Liverpool” and “Chelsea”, flagged off by the English referee, Peter Cook. The flat field at the North lawn seemed built for this and the young and not so young were having fun.

The rest of the party was held at the amphitheatre. It was fully used for what it was built for. It held the stage, audienced by those milling around on the steps and those viewing it from air-conditioned comfort through the glassed Prayer Halls.

The food was catered but it seemed like the vendor was out to please. Members were accessorising and taking photos with their favourite pastors. The 9 am Service band belted out John’s favourites. Then came the speeches and both had a long list of people to thank and events to remember. John is known as a very present pastor who can be counted on to be there at the first sign of crisis or sickness. Timothy faithfully laboured not just at Westside Anglican Church, but week in and week out, at the Communion Service on Thursday and the 7.30 pm New Life Service on Sunday. Cathedral is used to seeing clergy coming and going. It has to be said that some are not easily replaceable. Indeed John and Timothy have left an indelible mark in the SAC community. It was an evening where the community celebrated.

On Sunday, as usual, SAC was a hive of activities. I was at the 9 am worship and then popped over to catch the post 8am Service breakfast refreshments to meet and greet. And then back to the CNS to listen to Ds Bessie’s teaching on Nehemiah. Then we got ready for the baptism Service at 11.15 am, where Revd Alvin was preaching on Nehemiah 5. Eighteen adults and 7 children were baptised at the end of the Service. Some of the adults attended our previous Alpha Course. Later in the day, the Filipino Service and Hokkien Service also baptised a few more. Indeed, the heavens rejoice over every repented sinner (Luke 15:10).

Archbishop Stephen of the Province of Myanmar was also in town and ministered at the Myanmar Service. I joined in later in the leaders meeting. There are many ethnic groups within the Myanmar Service, with Burmese, Karen, Kachin and Chin being the major ones. It also caters to Christians from many denominations, including Baptists and Catholics. This Service is growing and the leaders are encouraged by that. Our clergy do come in to help at least once a month to preach and celebrate the Communion. It is good to hear from the Archbishop on the positive developments in Myanmar under the new civilian government. Please continue to pray for Myanmar.

I should add that I am pleased to see various groups using our grounds to picnic, including some who have been attending our Myanmar Service. They are not all from Myanmar. There were also some groups of Indian ladies. The church is seen as a safe public place. As long as some measure of discipline is maintained (with our security personnel ensuring that), please continue to welcome them. They have come to work and serve Singaporeans, and it is the very least we can do to give them some space to chill and catch up with their friends on their off days.

As I was driving off, I could hear the sounds of worship in the Nave at the 5 pm Service. We are encouraging those from the 7.30 pm Service to join this Service when it closes after September. A gentle breeze of the Holy Spirit has been blowing at the 5pm Service. It has refreshed those seeking healing and prayer for other needs. Amidst the rich liturgy and hymns at this Service, the Spirit is at work to renew hearts. There are also fresh expressions of new choruses with old hymns. Please pray for more people to come to passionate faith as the wind continues to blow.