Vicar Writes

Vicar Writes


All 2016 May Vicar Writes

29 May 2016 | Vicar Writes


By Terry Wong
Last weekend, while some of us were blessed by the inspiring and great music from the Nidaros Cathedral Boys’ Choir, three mission teams visited regional cities to share the love of Christ. 

The new “Healing of the Nations” ministry was inaugurated with the sending of a team to Medan in Sumatra from the 19th to the 22nd May. The ministry was led by 2 members of the 8am service – Joshua Lee & his wife Ai Leng who have both also been key volunteers with the Mobile Medical Clinic. The team of 12 included 2 doctors. This medical mission was conducted in conjunction with 2 churches of Gereja Anglikan Indonesia – the New Life Church led by Pastor Josepha Tarigan and the Church of the Good News led by Pastor Untung. Over the course of the mission, the team, together with the local volunteers from the two churches treated and ministered to more than 500 poor villagers in 2 locations near Medan – Sri Gunting & Desa Namo Rih. Many of the villagers also received prayer. A children’s ministry was also conducted at both locations with the children receiving balloon animals as well as gifts kindly donated by an 8am service member.It was a truly blessed time of serving the Lord and glorifying His name in Medan. This ministry will be providing medical missions to other locations in the Deanery countries. The next mission will be in September to Yogjakarta. 

Pas Geraldine led a team of 8 young adults to visit Ho Chih Minh over the same weekend. One of our members, Joshua Kwok is doing a 2-year stint there. Going with a faith attitude to serve and to expect the unexpected, the team had some interesting experiences of being a blessing to the locals. While surviving the heat was exhausting, the team was refreshed by the opportunity to serve. 

Another team of eight, under the ministry of 289 Fellowship, visited Kampung Nanas in Batam, Indonesia. Apart from distributing food and meeting other needs, the team is seeking to help uplift the lives of the locals. Paul Ramani, one of the regular helpers said, “We feel that simply giving donations e.g. rice or money is not enough and will not help in the long run. They are not asking for charity but to be given opportunities to help earn sustainable and regular incomes. This is where we feel we have the tools to help. We will be making regular visits and follow-ups to Kg Nanas and will expand our reach from 43 to 100 Christian families. 

22 May 2016 | Vicar Writes

The Consecration Bible and Pectoral Cross of Bishop Chiu Ban It

By Terry Wong
On 1st of November 1966, on All Saints’ Day, Bishop Joshua Chiu Ban It was consecrated in St Andrew’s Cathedral. He was the first Asian Bishop of Singapore and Malaya, as the Diocese was then called. 

Bishop Chiu believed that the study of Scripture would have to be the most important facet of church life and in 1967, he proposed a three-year programme which developed into the “Know Your Scriptures” campaign. His early years of episcopacy were challenging, especially after the British left Singapore, and along with that, established privileges and availability of resources. 

At a low point of his tenure, Bishop Chiu encountered a new work of the Holy Spirit while attending a Conference in Bangkok in 1972. A book by an American Episcopal priest, Dennis Bennett (Nine O’clock in the Morning), was lent to him.  He read it with scepticism but before he went to sleep, he prayed to the Lord to ask whether whatever happened to Dennis could also happen to him. When he awoke, he found himself filled with joy and began praising God in English, Chinese, Malay and finally, in unaccustomed syllables. He found himself speaking in  tongues! 

He discovered a new life and vibrancy in liturgical  Scripture and prayer and found a new excitement in his ministry as Bishop. Later, he invited Revd Edgar Webb to hold healing meetings in the Cathedral. The meetings were packed. 

From there, the move of the Spirit in the Diocese began to grow, along with similar experiences of revival in other parts of the Body of Christ. The Cathedral became a centre  of revival and there were many meetings held where the Bible was taught and people prayed for. In July 1974, a Friday prayer meeting was started which quickly grew from 15 to 150 attending regularly. 

Undoubtedly, Bishop Chiu’s ministry has left an indelible mark in the life of the Cathedral and Diocese which is still being felt today. We are indebted to the Lord for this dear servant for his simplicity of faith, purity of devotion and humility of heart. Bishop Chiu has since retired and is currently living in England. 

On the 14th of May 2016, through his niece, Ang Su-Lin, Bishop Chiu Ban It presented his Consecration Bible and Pectoral Cross to the Cathedral. These were received by our Dean and Vicar. The Bible was given to him at his consecration as Bishop. The pectoral cross is only worn by bishops and this was a gift from St Augustine’s College in Cambridge, where he had served as a fellow before his appointment. These two items will be displayed at the Welcome Centre  and will become an important part of our historical exhibits. 

The Consecration Bible and Pectoral Cross are  reminders to the Cathedral of our rich spiritual inheritance through the person and ministry of Bishop Chiu. 

Note: Some information in this article was  gleaned  from Diffusing The Light, authored by Joseph Thambiah.

15 May 2016 | Vicar Writes

Celebrating the Feast of Pentecost

By Terry Wong

“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all gathered in one place.” Acts 2:1

Pentecost existed before Pentecost.

The Jews had always been celebrating the Feast of Pentecost. Traditionally it was mid-summer feast, marking the end of the barley harvest. In the time of Jesus, the feast celebrated the giving of the law and the covenant at Mt Sinai. It commemoratedthe events in Exodus 19-20. According to the Scriptures, the law was given fifty days after the Passover. As a text from the Hebrew liturgy of Shauoth says, “This day of the Feast of Weeks is the time of the gift of Torah.”

Pentecost is associated with the history of salvation (God’s work in our history in providing salvation). Just as at Mt Sinai, the people became a kingdom of priests through the law, in the new Pentecost, the people became a people of God, a Church, through the giving of the Spirit. The OT promises came to pass e.g. “I will write it in their hearts…” (Jer 31:33), “A new heart I will give you…,” “a new spirit I will put within you…” (Ezek 36:26-27). Paul said the same, “The law of the Spirit of life in Jesus Christ has set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)

If this is understood, then properly speaking, Pentecost is Salvation Day! Peter stood up and gave an evangelistic message. It is not just a day to celebrate the gifts or revealed/experienced power of the Spirit, but the birth and work of the Church.

Having understood this, we also need to be reminded of how mission became the first and immediate fruit of the birth of the church. And indeed, how central the work and power of the Spirit is to all this! It is when the Spirit is working in our hearts and lives, that there is a ‘life’ to share. The Apostles were instructed by Jesus Himself and witnessed the death, resurrection and ascension. However, it was only after the Spirit came on them that they were able to do what the church is called to do.

What should our posture be? Just as the disciples were praying, we need to do likewise. Praying may seem such an ‘inactive activity,’ and yet it is always a prelude to some significant work of God in our lives. Just as the disciples were patiently waited, likewise we should learn to wait for the promises of God to unfold. Just as the disciples were boldly proclaiming (in tongues, in words), likewise we should not be afraid to step out and exercise our faith. As some have noted, the gifts of the Spirit were never meant to be domesticated, but to be used for witness.

We welcome our new Archbishop of the Province of Southeast Asia, The Most Revd Datuk Ng Moon Hing as he ministers at the 8 am and 11.15 am Services. Archbishop Moon Hing is also the Bishop Of West Malaysia. Bishop John Tan will be leading the Confirmation Service at 9 am and our Bishop will be ministering at the 7 am and 5 pm Services. May the Holy Spirit anoint and use them on this special day.

8 May 2016 | Vicar Writes

A Season of Retreats and Camps

By Terry Wong

The Young Adults had theirs two weekends ago. I was at the 7 am, 5 pm and 7.30pm Retreat in Ipoh last weekend. We enjoyed the messages by Revd Clement Wong on “Being a people of His presence.” We were reminded again on how much we need the presence and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. 

 We were also refreshed by being in this interesting and rather laid back valley city. There was a lot of fun and laughter as we got to know each other over good Cantonese fare Ipoh-style. We also shared our common concerns about the life and ministry of SAC. 

 While we were there, the children ministry leaders and workers across our Services were also gathered at Batam. I am sure they had a blessed time. Such moments are indeed rare but an essential part of “walls down” as we treasure the opportunity for community. This reminds me of my recent experience in the 9 am Service where everyone wore a sticker with their names on it. What a difference that made.

 There are two more Camps coming in June for the rest of the Services. I have resolved to attend all to get to know more members and also sense what the Lord is doing. As I said, it is a rare opportunity for us to cease being “ships passing each other in the night” (often a Sunday experience) and we look forward to meeting some of you in these Camps. 

 Last Saturday, the Cathedral Women’s Fellowship organized a cooking demo which was very well attended. We had some fun time together and it was another opportunity to know members and guests who share a passion for home cooking. Indeed cooking brings people together, whether families in homes or communities in the church. I am aware that more would like an opportunity to learn those dishes and we will plan another similar event at some point. 

 There are also short mission trips being organized to Indonesia and Cambodia over this period. It is hard to describe how enriching it is when we use our vacation time to serve others. It will be a memorable experience and you will be just as blessed as you seek to be a blessing to others. 

 We are now into the book of James in our sermon series. The Connect Group material is also ready for use and I encourage your group to get into it if you are able, if not now, later in the year. 

1 May 2016 | Vicar Writes

An Exhilarating Ride

By Terry Wong
It has been an exhilarating ride since I started serving as Vicar on the 1st of July 2015. Coming from his background as a military man, Bishop Kuan told me that he will be praying for me as I “get more familiar with all the big ship’s many buttons and levers.” Indeed, and speaking as a cook, there are many ovens and stoves to manage at the same time!  

In fact, I have found that not changing needs an intentional effort. Restraint and “waiting” became important as I seek to understand how things are done here. With time, I have found my early impressions off the mark. I am glad that I did not respond to my instincts.      

Connecting with so many members is challenging since I am not in the same Service every Sunday. This has allowed each Service Pastor to “own” these Services and it squares with my personal inclination to share my “leadership space.” I am glad that through the weekly Vicar Writes, I can continue to help bring the Cathedral community together and keep them informed on important developments.     

It has been a period of making new friends and finding a new community for both Jennifer and I. I am a firm believer in the local church community and for

this season, we will worship and grow together with each of you. I am a Christian in your midst. May we mutually inspire each other in our faith. It has been

very meaningful to get to know some of you better, and it’s also my privilege journeying alongside you as your pastor.

The spiritual and ministry journey

does not get easier with age. This being

my third season of ministry (after some very intense years in St John’s St Margaret’s Church and St James’ Church), a new zeal and passion is needed. Please pray for me, using the lyrics from some simple Christian folksongs, “that I will want to be a Christian in my heart” and “keep falling in love with Him, over and over again.”  

I am grateful for a very supportive team of clergy, pastors and staff. We have found our weekly gathering for devotion, breakfast and planning meetings helpful and necessary. I am also grateful for the support of my wardens, Keith Chua and Joseph Thambiah, and the PCC. It has  also been a smooth period of working with my colleague, Canon Titus Chung. I am also glad for the regular and encouraging presence of our Bishop and Dean. His sense of prayer and sensitivity to the

Lord is needed and a constant reminder to me. 

I am usually cheerful and positive. But like anyone of us, stress can sometimes get the better of me. My heartfelt apologies to those whom I may have hurt or discouraged. Forgiveness sets us free to love and serve together and growing even through the inevitable conflicts. That is a mark of Christian maturity. 

Grace is easily offered to someone who is new here like myself, but I trust you will also offer to each other, especially those who have been here for many years. Memories have  a strange way of shaping the present. In “loving deeply and holding lightly,” we give each other space and grace to grow while being our authentic selves.   

May the Lord be glorified in and through the Cathedral.