Diversity and Space
The Cathedral was in the news last Sunday. Obviously, the issue of the bells is of public interest.
This may be a good opportunity for me to explain the policies and principles which guide the way Cathedral manages her heritage responsibilities.
We do feel responsible to maintain them well in honour of previous donors and to preserve our heritage. Sometimes, we have to meet expectations from the government authorities or wider society. In this respect, we share similar responsibilities with other churches with heritage interests such as our sister parish St George's Church, The Armenian Church and some Roman Catholic parishes. There are many who appreciate Church music and the arts, and being a church in the city, we have the opportunity to connect with the wider society.
These heritage responsibilities need not stand over and against our fundamental spiritual responsibilities such as missions and worship. For this reason, when it comes to heritage matters, we often seek to have more targeted fund-raising instead of tapping on our existing general funds, which is contributed from the tithes and free-will offerings. The government also has ways to help in the upkeep of our monuments facilities, and where possible, the church tries to tap on these funds. In other words, while we may fund-raise for the Bells Project, we do not allocate funds for it from our general fund. In this way, we allow those who see its cultural value to contribute. To each his own.
We respect the community in SAC with her diverse interests and gifts. We seek to find a place for everyone to serve, whether it is in flower arrangement, cooking, stole-sewing or bell pulling! Speaking personally, I have more interest in the clashing of the spatula with the wok than that of the clapper to the bells. But I have met Christians here who are deeply interested in the bells and enamoured of the unique sounds they create or the mind-blowing mathematical patterns generated.
We believe that we should create space for every member to serve and use their gifts. Our diverse gifts can be channelled to enrich the Church rather than create conflict through competing interests or voices.
As God's Word reminds us, “whatever you do, do it to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).” The attitudes and motivations of one’s heart matter more than anything else.
We do not let these concerns distract us from the ministry responsibilities of the Church and it is not difficult to see how active the Cathedral is in local and overseas missions (for further information, one may read the latest Missions handbook). Some of these ministries reach some of the poorest sectors of our societies. We are also involved in crisis relief work in Lombok and Palu.
The Cathedral also feels a sense of deep responsibility to help other Anglican parishes or missions. Recently, we contributed $600,000 to the Church of the Epiphany's new building project from our property fund. The leadership shown by SAC also helps to garner support from other parishes. I should add that our property fund is also enriched by legacy giving*. Members have donated properties and other possessions to the Cathedral over the years. The management and sales of some of these properties enable the Cathedral to be generous in responding to building needs here and in our deaneries.
The clergy, deaconesses, pastors and PCC appreciate your continual prayers as we seek to lead and manage this vineyard well. We are grateful as always for the many generous givers out there who give their time and money to serve the Lord. Without you, we would not have been able to fulfil our wide range of responsibilities.
* For legacy giving, please visit anglican.org.sg/page/legacygiving
A full story of the Bells and the costs involved will be released in the January issue of The Courier.