Vision 2020

Vision 2020

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All 2018 January Vicar Writes

28 January 2018 | Vicar Writes

Vision 2020

By Terry Wong

Vision 2020 is about working out a three-year envisioning process for SAC. As ours is a large parish, we need to go beyond annual planning. We also want to flow in tandem with the Diocesan three-year emphases: 2018: Year of Prayer; 2019: Year of Harvest and 2020: Year of Personal Discipleship.

The idea of a three-year “Vision 2020” provides us an opportunity to envision, pray, plan and work together to build up the life and ministry of SAC. Like a shared online document or Wikipedia article, I see this involving multiple writers and owners, both lay and staff. Over time we are both designing and building up the Lord’s work, co-labouring with the Lord who has promised that He will build His Church.

The process is just as important as the outcome, as working on clarifying a vision often helps us to focus our energies and prayers on what is most important in His Kingdom. Not only will it help us to “think wide” but to “think long.” We have to constantly think of the future and what we are laying behind for the next generations. Next year, we will be celebrating our 200th year of existence as a modern city. We can only marvel at the impact and witness of Christianity in this nation. Countless have served and dedicated their lives to the cause of Christ and that is the legacy we have inherited.

It is now for us to “serve God’s purpose in our own generation” (Acts 13:36). How does one ensure a lasting legacy? I am not talking about achieving something so great that it has a lasting mention in history or is remembered. I am talking about an influence that can be passed on to the next generation, who in turn will pass it on to those coming after them (2 Tim 2:2). We do this through three communities: our family, our church, and our nation. This can only happen if we serve God and not ourselves. In fact, most of us will not have our names or deeds recorded anywhere. We may not even be remembered. But this Christ-stamped influence will live on through those we have influenced.  

I just qualified recently to collect a part of my CPF. I have lived five decades and a half! What is my legacy of accomplishments which I can be proud of? Some may see my achievements as a clergy or a cookbook writer. But these kinds of achievements are ephemeral on the scale of God’s eternity purpose. For my deepest aspirations and motivations, I echo St Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 2:19: my crowns are Christians whom I have encouraged, influenced and impacted through the various communities I have grown and served in, both in Malaysia and in Singapore. I seek to live my life and do my ministry that others may be encouraged, whether lay, pastors, or missionaries. If I have encouraged, inspired and helped someone to grow in Christ and walk in their destiny and calling, that will be what I have lived a large part of my life for. In other words, have I been a good follower of Christ? For if I have been, I would have been a fisher of men (Matthew 4:19).

21 January 2018 | Vicar Writes

A January Update

By Terry Wong

AGM 2018 is scheduled for 22nd of April. In preparation for that, we hope to organise one or two Town Hall Meetings. The first will be on the 25th of February at 2pm at the Cafe. We hope to look at a few issues, including how we may welcome foreigners who visit our grounds every Sunday and other areas of concern for the wider SAC community. A Town Hall meeting allows for feedback, information and discussions on issues that those who gather have interest in. We will announce the issues to be discussed as soon as we are able. If you feel certain issues need to be raised at these meetings, please email Vivien Chen at vivienchen@cathedral.org.sg.

SAC leaders will be gathered next weekend to pray and discuss around SAC’s “three-year Vision,” 2018-2020. When leaders stand together, heart to heart, any church will grow to be a strong one. Such a conference will help ministries Cathedral-wide to move in tandem together. When leaders know each other personally, partnership and synergy becomes possible. Indeed, each participant will get to know a few more who are serving in the same vineyard. These friendships are always precious in the Lord’s work.

I had a very good and fruitful meeting with the leaders from our Myanmar Worship Service (MWS) last Sunday. They hope to conduct health-checks for the foreigners on our grounds on a regular basis. This will be done in cooperation with SAC Medical Missions and the wider SAC family. There is currently one English class conducted between 11am to 1pm every Sunday. If you would like to help with this, please contact Moses Israeli at mosesisraeli@cathedral.org.sg. They have also started educating their members on how to keep the grounds clean and from there, also communicate the same to foreigners. Plans are also afoot to communicate to them to use restroom facilities outside of our grounds as our toilet facilities are limited and barely able to cope with the needs of worshippers every Sunday. Finding a balance of welcome, discipline and order is always a challenge, and we appreciate MWS’s help in this.

14 January 2018 | Vicar Writes

Staying Dependent On The Lord And One Another

By Terry Wong
Photo

The year has started fast and furious, plans are beginning to be rolled out as we anticipate another exciting year of spiritual growth, ministry and mission opportunities.

While events and projects are easy to organise, pastoring and discipling that each person may grow is always more difficult. I reiterate here again: Church is not primarily about each of us achieving SAC’s objectives or helping our Vicar, pastors or leaders to succeed and attain “ministry trophies.” It should be about the Church “equipping the saints for ministry” (Ephesians 4:12) and helping each person find their calling and destiny in Christ.

I was reminded of this again from one of last week’s lectionary readings, Colossians 4:12,13:

“Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis.”

Epaphras’ struggles is “in prayers”, reminding us again that our ministry can only be borne and sustained if we are praying and in partnership with the Lord, even while we “work hard” for those we are serving. In praying, we also hear from the Lord and receive His perspective of things, and in so doing, we allow Him to draw alongside us.

Here is my prayer that we will grow deeper in our ministry partnership. How? Through our struggling in our prayers. It is when we are fully dependent on the Lord, kneeling together before Him, that we will find a way to work well together in spite of our differences in personalities, miscommunication and so on. When we are not dependent on Him, not abiding in Christ (John 15), or living in broken communion with the Lord (often because of sin), it can be difficult for brothers and sisters to work well together.

Having been here for 2 years plus, I also observed that while hearts may be sincere, we must always remember that we are fallible beings serving in a fallible world. We have no way of knowing how we may be causing unintended harm or discouragement unless we remain open to feedback. In this regard, even after 30 over years of intense full time ministry and being a Canon, my posture is always an open one where others can give feedback, even if it can be difficult to hear them. I do that because I need that.

I hope some of you found last Sunday’s satire or story on the bells memorable. The matter of the bells may seem spiritually trivial but this Cathedral is indeed the only one of her kind in Singapore. There are extra heritage responsibilities which we should not neglect.

I am looking forward to the coming Leadership Conference and how more can participate in building up our SAC community and mission together. Pray along with us, and at the right time, we will also share with the wider body our plans for 2018 and our three-year vision (“Vision 2020”).

7 January 2018 | Vicar Writes

Conversations In The Bell Tower On New Years Eve 2017

By Terry Wong


This is a satire of the 8 bells that have been hung in our bell tower for 129 years. Each was named after one of the 12 apostles. Meant originally to be swung rather than struck and probably a full set of 12 instead of 8, cracks in the tower led to uncertainties about the tower’s safety. Church bell experts have advised that the tower is more than able to handle swinging bells and that those cracks were due to uneven movements of the heavily buttressed tower relative to the rest of the Nave. Plans are under way to review this and the Lord willing (and with some generous donations), the bells may finally get to swing and peal away. If you have questions or are interested to help, email bells@cathedral.org.sg

“Happy New Year, all!”

“Same to you, Andrew,” James replied, “But what is there to be happy about?”

“That another year has come?”

“Did you hear them singing ‘Another Year of Dawning’ earlier on?” asked James. “Another year of this, another year of that. For us, it will be another year of sedentary hanging!”

“Adding one more to the 129 years of same same,” said Bartholomew.

“... in this same dingy and humid tower,” quipped Peter. “It gets dustier every year.”

“And we have not even moved an inch! We were meant to swing...” John sighed.

“Let’s vote: in 2018, we shall go on strike!” James snarled.

“James, we have been “striking” for 129 years!” Andrew laughed.

“Andrew, you are the largest of us all and meant for a great swing and ring,” Peter reminded.

“Yes I remember. I was forged in the same foundry as cousin, Susan. I thought I was lucky when they selected me for a Cathedral in the Far East. It sounded exotic. I was to be shipped! Susan was trucked to nearby St Paul’s Cathedral. I thought, how boring. But there she still is, swinging and singing ever since. Sigh…”

“And I thought, there was supposed to be the 12 of us. Where are Philip, Simon, Jude and Matthias?” asked John.

Andrew reminded, “Alas, they thought this tower could neither take our weight or dance. So, they left them behind and they tied us up here. We are to sing only
when struck. There ain’t no dancing. ”

“But, we were made for that!” James retorted. “ I am not so sure now…” quipped Thomas.

“Thomie, if one gets used to living for less, that can quickly become the new norm.”

“Preach it, bro.”

“Think about that. We are adding another year to this ordeal. Can you recall the excitement and fanfare when they first hoisted us up to this tower?” Andrew mused.

“Can you recall how we welcomed the 20th century with twenty rings? It was supposed to be a bright new century!” said James.

“And then the wars came. I can still remember. It was at 4.30 am on 8th December 1941 when the bombs fell. Most of you were asleep but the grounds were shaking. I thought I did move an inch. There was a lot of commotion in the months after that. I have never seen so many soldiers in the Cathedral,” said Peter.

“Yes, I can still remember Lee Kuan Yew’s speech in 1959 and the cries of Merdeka! from the Padang. Those cries came into our tower and echoed around. I think we did resonate,” said James.

“Come to think of it, we have been through four nationalities: British, Japanese, Malayan and now, Singaporean,” said Andrew.

“Jia lat,” moaned Thomas.

“I can recall changes in the music. The Twist, Rock & Roll, Disco, Hip-hop, Gangnam Style and just this week, Zumba! And all we do here is vibrate...” Peter sighed.

“Hmm. Did you see the new Vicar popping up the other day?” Andrew asked.

“You mean that lanky and bellish-shaped guy?” Bartholomew answered. “Did you notice how he was panting? He looked so unfit! At least he paid us a visit.”

“Yeah, right, after more than 2 years,” said Thomas.

“I heard him muttering about making us swing. Maybe, just maybe…” Andrew hoped.

“I doubt,” said Thomas.

“Imagine, if we actually swing for the first time. What will you say?” Andrew asked.

“Swing for Singapore?”
“At last, seeing Singapore from a different angle.”
“Finally, my chance to hit the clapper. Better late than never!”
“Left right, left right.”
“No, front back, front, back.”
“Pealing, nothing more than pealing…”

“What will you say Andrew?”

After a pause, “Finally, the city hears our dance. Thank you Lord, thank you.”

“Happy New Year, all!”

“Same to you, Andrew,” James replied, “But what is there to be happy about?”

“That another year has come?”

“Did you hear them singing ‘Another Year of Dawning’ earlier on?” asked James. “Another year of this, another year of that. For us, it will be another year of sedentary hanging!”

“Adding one more to the 129 years of same same,” said Bartholomew.

“... in this same dingy and humid tower,” quipped Peter. “It gets dustier every year.”

“And we have not even moved an inch! We were meant to swing...” John sighed.

“Let’s vote: in 2018, we shall go on strike!” James snarled.

“James, we have been “striking” for 129 years!” Andrew laughed.

“Andrew, you are the largest of us all and meant for a great swing and ring,” Peter reminded.

“Yes I remember. I was forged in the same foundry as cousin, Susan. I thought I was lucky when they selected me for a Cathedral in the Far East. It sounded exotic. I was to be shipped! Susan was trucked to nearby St Paul’s Cathedral. I thought, how boring. But there she still is, swinging and singing ever since. Sigh…”

“And I thought, there was supposed to be the 12 of us. Where are Philip, Simon, Jude and Matthias?” asked John.

Andrew reminded, “Alas, they thought this tower could neither take our weight or dance. So, they left them behind and they tied us up here. We are to sing only
when struck. There ain’t no dancing. ”

“But, we were made for that!” James retorted. “ I am not so sure now…” quipped Thomas.

“Thomie, if one gets used to living for less, that can quickly become the new norm.”

“Preach it, bro.”

“Think about that. We are adding another year to this ordeal. Can you recall the excitement and fanfare when they first hoisted us up to this tower?” Andrew mused.

“Can you recall how we welcomed the 20th century with twenty rings? It was supposed to be a bright new century!” said James.

“And then the wars came. I can still remember. It was at 4.30 am on 8th December 1941 when the bombs fell. Most of you were asleep but the grounds were shaking. I thought I did move an inch. There was a lot of commotion in the months after that. I have never seen so many soldiers in the Cathedral,” said Peter.

“Yes, I can still remember Lee Kuan Yew’s speech in 1959 and the cries of Merdeka! from the Padang. Those cries came into our tower and echoed around. I think we did resonate,” said James.

“Come to think of it, we have been through four nationalities: British, Japanese, Malayan and now, Singaporean,” said Andrew.

“Jia lat,” moaned Thomas.

“I can recall changes in the music. The Twist, Rock & Roll, Disco, Hip-hop, Gangnam Style and just this week, Zumba! And all we do here is vibrate...” Peter sighed.

“Hmm. Did you see the new Vicar popping up the other day?” Andrew asked.

“You mean that lanky and bellish-shaped guy?” Bartholomew answered. “Did you notice how he was panting? He looked so unfit! At least he paid us a visit.”

“Yeah, right, after more than 2 years,” said Thomas.

“I heard him muttering about making us swing. Maybe, just maybe…” Andrew hoped.

“I doubt,” said Thomas.

“Imagine, if we actually swing for the first time. What will you say?” Andrew asked.

“Swing for Singapore?”
“At last, seeing Singapore from a different angle.”
“Finally, my chance to hit the clapper. Better late than never!”
“Left right, left right.”
“No, front back, front, back.”
“Pealing, nothing more than pealing…”

“What will you say Andrew?”

After a pause, “Finally, the city hears our dance. Thank you Lord, thank you.”

This is a satire of the 8 bells that have been hung in our bell tower for 129 years. Each was named after one of the 12 apostles. Meant originally to be swung rather than struck and probably a full set of 12 instead of 8, cracks in the tower led to uncertainties about the tower’s safety. Church bell experts have advised that the tower is more than able to handle swinging bells and that those cracks were due to uneven movements of the heavily buttressed tower relative to the rest of the Nave. Plans are under way to review this and the Lord willing (and with some generous donations), the bells may finally get to swing and peal away.

If you have questions or are interested to help, email bells@cathedral.org.sg