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All 2020 April Vicar Writes

26 April 2020 | Vicar Writes

“It is not right that we should give up preaching
the word of God to serve tables...” Acts 6:2

It has been a privilege to be able to preach consecutively on the two beautiful Easter accounts, the first involving Thomas and the other on the Journey to Emmaus. There is a flow in the lectionary in keeping with the liturgical season which can help us to enter more fully into the Gospel stories. You can also follow this more fully through Bishop Rennis’ midweek sermons.

One interesting outcome of the circuit breaker season is the simplification of life and work. Bishops and Vicars who are normally busy with management and leadership matters, can now focus on the ministry of the Word and Prayer. The church functions along with the society she is a part of, embracing the pace, high standards of management and financial processes. These often mean that it becomes unavoidable for the men of the cloth to spend considerable time on these issues.

Take the Easter period for example. If not for Covid 19, we will now be busy with preparing for AGM. And this means writing reports, ensuring the Phase 2 project is being updated and made ready for a second presentation to the body, ensuring that the new church budget is finalised etc. All these generate a train of work involving many parties, of which clergy often need to be involved and provide the needed leadership. I cannot imagine that myself or Bishop can spend this much time preparing well for the Easter sermons. I doubt that I will have the time to lead the daily noon prayer.

This season has been one huge pause button. We need to do a lot of prayerful reflection and deeper conversations on what church ministry means and what the Lord has called her to do and be. Reflect with us. Pray with us that we may find wisdom for a new season.

One interesting initiative which we are providing for this Sunday morning from 10.30 -11.30 am is a Zoom channel for prayer and ministry. If you would like to share your need with members of our pastoral and ministry teams and receive prayer, please join this room through this link HERE.

17 April 2020 | Vicar Writes

I am sure that by now, you are aware of all the measures and forums that have been made available for your encouragement and information. Get used to the new online bulletin as we continue to work on new initiatives.

You can help the Cathedral community by doing the following:

Participate as much as you can.
Log in, tune in, listen, read up and give feedback if you need to. You are not just doing this for yourself. You participate because the wider SAC community matters to you. You also care for those around you. You may come across something that is inspiring which you can now share. If you are not familiar with going on Facebook, this is the time to learn to do so. You can choose to be a passive participant. SAC has two Facebook pages. The St Andrew’s Cathedral page is the official page where only authorised persons can post but users can make comments. The other, Community of St Andrew’s Cathedral page, allows users to both post and make comments.

If you don’t like to use Apps (and believe it or not, you are really in the minority), this is the time to learn to do so. Apps are loved by millions because of their ease of use. Join in for the Call to Prayer at noon through the Cathedral SG Live App, which also has many other resources.

We also have 2 avenues, #hope + #strongertogether, for members to send in a video greeting from you or your family, write some words of inspiration, share a testimony, record a song and send them to media@cathedral.org.sg.

Give us feedback (because you care) as the areas of improvement are limitless. This is a season where community participation should be lauded. The gifts in the community are immense.

For those with gifts, don’t bury them. Onlookers: don’t pour cold water or criticise their efforts. Yes, do give some words of advice or caution but do also cheer each other on. Courage is often needed and your encouragement will help. As we will see in this Sunday Online Service, we want to encourage the SAC community to share, speak, play (instruments) and sing.

While we may be dispersed, this is a season where our love for the community can go cold or become even stronger. Not everyone has wireless or know how to tap into our online resources. Do your part to reach them. Give a call. Read something encouraging to them. Let them know what has been happening. Summarise the sermons for them. Is there someone who can be encouraged by a call from our pastors? Please let us know.

Is there someone who is lacking in “essential needs”? Those who have more can share with those who have less.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3: 16-18

10 April 2020 | Vicar Writes
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Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19


The Latin term “tabula rasa” (lit. blank slate) is often used to refer to the need to start afresh from time to time. Undoubtedly, this Covid19 may well have changed the way we do church. Perhaps some of these changes were already happening, albeit gradually and tentatively. Understandably, in a congregation with a wide demographic, it has not been easy to change our habits. Consider some of these concerns and opportunities which have been knocking on our doors.  

Is there a “greener” way to do things? We waste a lot of paper every week: weekend bulletins, class teaching notes, minutes etc. In this day and age, I think (and you will agree), this call to change in this area has been a long time coming. And they do come with added advantages. Think of an e-bulletin with colour and links.  

How about a better use of videos? Is there a better way to multiply our teachings, messages and sermons? Through the years in SAC, I have heard some amazing sermons, lectures and talks. However and rather needlessly, they are only heard by a few who were fortunate to be at the right place at the right time. While we need audios and podcasts (longer shelf life), some are better channelled through videos. 

Text messaging has been with us for a long while via SMS and in these last few years, this has been replaced by WhatsApp. Messaging is now free and immediate. Links can be easily inserted, allowing you to probe further if you are interested in an event or talk. Why can’t we all rely on this channel for bits of info that are current? 

Online Giving. We all know that since last year, the government has started on a nation-wide push to encourage online payment. Imagine if all of us can be comfortable with giving our tithes and offerings online. There is the occasional huge sum which some may be more comfortable with using cheques. Understandable. However, on most other occasions, direct online payments are efficient and safe. And it will also reduce the administrative workload for our Finance Dept. 

What about a better use of our smartphone apps? Apps are popular because they make navigation very user-friendly. After all, all you need to do is “click”. That needs a soft jab of the finger. I have heard from many seniors that they find apps easy to use. You don’t need to squint your eyes to read Web text or figure out what urls to type. SAC’s website is useful, unavoidably needing many layers as access to information is important. People come into the web to search for all kinds of info: service timings, tours, weddings, courses, membership etc. But if all you want to do is to check on last Sunday’s sermon, the app is where you will go, especially if you are already a member.

With Covid19’s safe distancing and new hygiene standards, going online simply makes sense. Lest we think that this is cool and novel, no-touch and distant communication has been with us for centuries. Runners used to carry news from afar, with scrolled edicts in hand. Millions of letters have been carefully written for distant communication. Some have had far-reaching impact on human society. Think of the letters of St Paul. Every generation has their tools. It is up to us whether we care enough to communicate and use them. And by the way, thank you for reading this. You have inspired me to write weekly. 

It is about time (and I think I heard a chorus of amens). 

Have a Blessed Easter!


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10 Apr |

It is about Time