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All 2019 May Vicar Writes

24 May 2019 | Vicar Writes

Thank You for Praying, Serving and Reaching Out

By Terry Wong
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Altar call at the English/Filipino rally

"...as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving,
to the glory of God." 2 Corinthians 4:15

There is much that has happened in CoH last weekend which we can give thanks for. However, on this space, I want to give thanks for the way the SAC community has served and participated.

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Photos by Roger Deng & Edwin Arokiyam

Firstly, the stance of praying. Since the Solemn Assemblies last year, there has been a continuous chain of prayer gatherings. The deep commitment to seek the Lord has been very edifying and I trust this will change our communal prayer life for the better.  We are thankful to Pastor Lian Swan and her intercessory team for their unwavering and inspiring commitment to intercession and a deep desire for revival for our church, city and nations around us.

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Leading in worship at the English/Filipino rally

Secondly, the stance of serving. It was challenging. Briefings to attend. The long hours on Sunday morning. We struggled to fill the number of volunteers but I know each one of you did your best to step in to help. Some of you couldn’t and your prayers for the event were good enough. Some of our staff worked very hard to provide the leadership and organisational energy needed. Notably, Adeline Hee, who did excellently in planning and marshalling our volunteers. The Filipino leadership team faced a setback as the pastor who was originally the vision-bearer and mobiliser for the rally had to leave the country for family reasons. Our staff, Ee May stepped in with unwavering commitment to serve and work with the Filipinos to host the Sunday morning rally. Those who were there would have seen that it was a festive and vibrant rally. There are many others whom I am not able to name but you know who you are. May this spirit of service continue every weekend here in SAC.   

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COH, children and families

Thirdly, the stance of outreach and welcome. Many have had the joy of inviting someone. And greater was the joy, when their guests responded to the message. This is precious: the experience of inviting someone to explore the faith. This entails a measure of boldness to invite and to overcome the awkwardness of conversations about the faith. In so doing, we plumb the depths of human relationships as we go beneath the superficial layers. Some are still doubting but let the love and conversations continue.

Even if they have not come to faith, the friendship should continue. In stepping out in evangelism, we are also reflecting on how all our Services in SAC can also be regular frontiers for people to find Christ. Wouldn't it be wonderful if every weekend in SAC, you could look forward to the opportunity to invite a family member or friend? What if we learn to posture every Service, whether liturgical or contemporary, to be more welcoming and sensitive to those who are still seeking or those who are new to SAC? Please pray and reflect with us.

Indeed as His grace extends to many more, may our Lord be glorified.

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Photos by Roger Deng & Edwin Arokiyam
19 May 2019 | Vicar Writes

So It Begins

By Terry Wong

There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope
that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all. 
EPHESIANS 4:4-6

It has been more than a year of intense preparation. But, as a seed idea, Celebration of Hope has been germinating in our hearts for much longer. Since July 2015.

We have pondered on what it means and what it takes. We have sought God personally in the secret place. We have prayed corporately in the public space. We have put our heads together, planned, and publicised. We have put our money where our mouth is. We have drawn closer to the Lord and to one another. We see stronger ties and new friendships being forged. We see pastors and leaders from both the conservative and charismatic streams praying and dreaming together, determined to put feet to vision.

Thus far the Lord has helped us. 1 SAMUEL 7:12

Celebration of Hope is God’s idea! He has shown us that we can move and minister as ONE despite obvious differences in personality, leadership style, and church culture. We are united in more ways than we realise. Truth is, what unites us is infinitely greater than what divides us. And when we come together for a harvest campaign of this scale, we are  more convinced than ever that the Kingdom of God is infinitely larger than any local church, denomination, or alliance!

We are blessed to serve as ONE, firstly, as Christians: people who follow Jesus, people who belong to the community of the King. Deep down inside, we know we do this simply because we love our Lord. Secondly, we are in this together as fellow citizens and residents. We love our city-state. What a fantastic way to commemorate our bicentennial! Yes, in this historic year, we want to celebrate Jesus, the One and Only Person in heaven and on earth who deserves our undivided affection, unwavering allegiance, and unending applause. To God be the Glory, great things He has done!

We are pleased to welcome Evangelist J. John who will be proclaiming God’s Word along with others. God’s Word is alive and active. God’s Word is powerful. God’s Word is sharp. God’s Word can cut through every doubt and defence. God’s Word can pry open hearts to hear and obey Christ. We rejoice that God’s Word shall prevail at every rally.

We are overjoyed to offer our kith and kin as well as friends, neighbours, and sojourners the power of the Gospel for salvation (ROMANS 1:16). At every rally, we will also proclaim the Good News through a beloved hymn that has touched many generations.

You guessed it: Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see. Who knows? God might open the hearts of the unsaved and draw them to Christ even before the preaching starts.

So it begins. This weekend is a divine appointment for Singapore. Thousands of unsaved people accompanied by Christian friends will be descending on the SportsHub for six mega moments with Christ our Saviour and King.

In this final lap, every moment of every day, let us double up efforts to pray, engage, and gather. Cry out to God for divine favour.
Yes, nothing less than a divine visitation upon our land!
•    Perfect weather. Angelic protection. Zero security incident.
•    Excellent teamwork. Smooth ops. Effective AV.
•     Packed stadium. Majority unbelievers.
•     Holy excitement. Captive audience. Ready response.
•     Anointed Worship. Fragrant presence of God.
•     Powerful preaching of the Gospel. Mighty move of the Spirit!

So it begins. This the hour of His glory, the day of His power, the year of His harvest. Our confidence is in Him and Him alone. With joyful hope, we call on Him to do the awesome things that only He can do (ISAIAH 45:8, ISAIAH 64:1-4):
• Rend the heavens
• Rain down His Spirit
• Reveal Christ Jesus
• Illuminate darkened minds
• Soften hardened hearts
• Bend stubborn wills
• Save lost souls
• Turn Singapore Godward

Towards a Great Homecoming
— for God’s glory!

12 May 2019 | Vicar Writes

When the Lord is Their Shepherd

By Terry Wong

John has been a free-thinker all his life. Financially successful and now in his senior years, life has been good to him. He seemed to lack nothing. He did not see the need to change anything in his life. There were Christians around him. But it never occurred to them that John would be interested in the Gospel.

One person thought otherwise. John visits his neighbourhood doctor from time to time. Nothing serious. Coughs and colds and the like. This doctor, who is a Christian, initially saw John as just another patient. But one day, during a routine examination, he popped the question: "John, do you believe in Jesus Christ?"

Before that, John had been a secret admirer of his sister, a devout and loving Christian. So the doctor's question triggered something inside him: "Yes. I know many Christians. But none have asked me so directly. Yes, I am interested to hear."

The doctor led him to the One who could give him living water. That very day, John put his faith in Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life.

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He was baptised a few weeks later, his sister looking on with tears of joy, and the angels rejoicing in heaven!

Looking back, John now realises that the goodness and mercy of the Good Shepherd had followed him and led him to the day of his salvation. Unbeknown to others, he has always been searching for green pastures and still waters. Through Jesus, his soul was restored.

This heartwarming story is a lesson for us all: It is never too late to ask, inquire or invite. Leave the rest to God. No one is too old to follow Jesus.

John’s secret hunger and thirst are not unique. There are many others just like him, just waiting. God wants to visit the seniors in their golden years. They can also experience the joy of John's discovery when you simply pop that one most important question: "Uncle, Auntie, do you believe in Jesus?"

Until the Lord is their Shepherd, they will always lack something.

Perhaps you know some who are stuck in a bad place, overwhelmed by ill health or broken relationships. Let the Lord use you to prepare a table of relief and hope for them in the midst of their "enemies".

Celebration of Hope has six different rallies you can invite them to. Include them in your guest list. Reserve a ticket for them. Accompany them by cab or by train to the stadium. If they are wheel-chair bound, no problem. On arrival, the ushers will guide you to the access lift that brings your entourage directly to a special seating area.

Indeed, the best gift we can offer the Pioneer Generation and the Merdeka Generation is a living hope that can only be found in one person. His Name is Jesus. And when the inevitable comes, when our seniors walk through the valley of the shadow of death, they will fear no evil for Jesus will be right there with them to comfort them. When they reach the other side, they will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. And they will be forever grateful to God and to you. Hallelujah!


Know some seniors who have yet to believe in Jesus? Pray for each one by name. Invite all of them to the Celebration of Hope rallies. Make all the necessary arrangements to ensure they are well taken care of before, during and after the event.

5 May 2019 | Vicar Writes

Reflecting on AGM 2019

By Terry Wong

I want to thank everyone who participated in last Sunday’s AGM. I was told it was a record-breaking attendance.

We heard about the challenge in keeping our annual operating budget in the black as we seek to fulfil all our financial obligations (joyfully!) in the ministry of the church, our Diocese and Missions. I remind, guided by Biblical principle, for each to "give according to what he has”, and this is reflected well in the discipline of tithing.

We unanimously supported the Restoration Works of the Cathedral, especially in the Nave areas. Fund-raising will be starting in earnest. The estimated costs of up to $6 million for the works to be carried out over three years is, of course, a hefty sum. We will be seeking grants from the authorities where they are available. This will only partially cover the costs and your support is needed. Be assured that the PCC, Building Development Committee and the Restoration Works Committee will be proceeding carefully at every step and decide prudently on the solutions and expenses involved. This also received unanimous support at the Chinese AGM.

We also supported the decision to begin fund-raising for the Phase 2 Project. We are almost reaching or have reached maximum capacity in many of our Services. Our need for ancillary facilities i.e. Sunday school, office and ministry rooms are dire. The Working Group has worked hard at identifying where the space needs are and the Advisory Group (architectural) has advised on the design and the selection of the right architect. Laud Architects presented an early design idea for us to begin to reflect on and to guide the cost estimates. The current estimate is in the region of $20-25 million. Both AGMs supported the decision to begin fund-raising by a majority of over 90%.

As a family, of course, we want to seek as much support and involvement as possible. We can always do better in our communication and we will seek to do that. Do watch the Vicar Writes space. Conversations will continue - including Town Halls - as the leadership explains and gather feedback. Some will feel the need for space more keenly than others. We need to converse and listen to one another. More than anything else, it is a sense of faith in the Lord’s provision as He calls us to bring people into the Kingdom, prepare for the needs of future generations and give priority to the work of the Church and the Gospel.

I have been involved in two previous parish building projects and understand that not all will see eye to eye on the issue of building and cost. We need to value our relationship in Christ above everything else and offer mutual respect and understanding even in disagreement. Beyond individual opinions, we need to think communally, not just for the present community but for future ones as well.

One encouraging indication was the way the needs for the Bells Funds were met. And we should never lose sight of the fact that the Pavilion project is made possible with minimal controversy because of a generous donation.

We also elected in a new PCC and the names should be in this week's bulletin. We want to thank those who have served in the last PCC as well as those who offered to serve and stood as nominees. The limited number of PCC positions should not deter us from serving the Lord elsewhere. Indeed, in SAC we want to create as many avenues as possible for members to serve and participate in the work of the Lord.

We are now barely two weeks before the Celebration of Hope rallies start. Will you be there, serving or inviting someone? And if for some reason you can’t, the Body of Christ will value your prayers.


Recent Vicar Writes

19 May |

So It Begins

12 May |

When the Lord is Their Shepherd

05 May |

Reflecting on AGM 2019