"Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses,
while this house lies in ruins?" Haggai 1:4
In my sermon last Sunday, as a point of illustration, I mentioned the state of our Nave’s facade. I should state upfront that this is a matter of concern for us in the leadership. Sharing personally, monument or not, I have always believed that we should be responsible for the state of our church facilities. Drawing from the principle stated in Haggai 1:4 (though it has a different context), we should treat the church better than we do our own properties.
In Singapore, we do not let our own homes become dilapidated due to the lack of repairs and maintenance. In part, this also arises from a social responsibility where each home owner knows that the state of their building also affects their neighbours or precinct.
While keeping our grounds clean is easier, and something which is being done diligently, keeping the facade of our buildings new can be a challenge. Some of you should have noticed that repairs were done last year on our New Sanctuary facade and surrounding walkways. The facade of our Nave is another matter altogether. While it may seem like applying a coat of paint should be a simple job, the issue has been the state of the plaster. We have taken a few years to determine the formula for the plaster which can withstand our weather. Comparing notes with similar buildings in the region has been helpful.
For those of you who share our concern, we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We have settled on the right formula and work should begin soon. This kind of works can take up to three years to complete. In preparation for next year’s national Bi-Centennial Celebrations, we hope to at least repair some of the external walls.
Along the same note on “repairing the broken walls,” Cathedral also bears the “Mother Church” responsibility. The Church of Christ our Peace will be dedicating their new building in October. We have contributed $500,000 from our property fund more than a year ago. Likewise, we are looking into contributing a significant sum to the rebuilding project of our Indian congregation, The Church of the Epiphany at Jalan Kayu. On top of these, there are needs in various community service and missions organisations which we have been supporting. Some are local and in our Diocese and others are overseas, including the work in our deaneries. Each need is evaluated carefully and prayerfully.
I mean to say that all these are made possible because of the dedication and generosity of each member (and visitor too!). You are trusting the church leadership to steward these resources wisely. Do continue to give generously. We have not been able to meet every request, though some of the needs are worthy of our support as there are limits to what the church can support. Your faithful giving will enable us to respond to more needs.
Talking about responsible stewardship, this is also one reason why we are reviewing the way we receive gifts for our Harvest Festival next Sunday, which will be celebrated in some of our Nave morning Services. In recent years we had growing difficulties managing the gifts in kind which we have received as very few local organisations want them, or have capacity to sort them. Therefore what we will do this year is to ask our children to bring fruits in during the procession. These will be given to our Home for the Aged. The amount will be regulated so that it is manageable and nothing is wasted. On top of that, members can contribute to our Harvest offering in cash or cheques through the use of some special envelopes. With that, we will coordinate with our 289 Fellowship of the Manger to distribute goods to needy families in Batam. We hope in doing so, the spirit of the Harvest festival is kept while a measure of continuity is retained.