Choose from Among You

Choose from Among You

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7 October 2018 | Vicar Writes

Choose from Among You

By Terry Wong

For the first time since I became the Vicar here, Bishop has posted a clergy to serve with us. We warmly welcome Revd Joshua Raj Sundaraj, his wife Santhi and their children, Joseph, Faith and Joy. There is intention some time next year to start a Tamil-speaking Service in SAC. Revd Joshua is effectively bilingual and I am sure he will be a pastoral blessing to our English-speaking community too.

As I have shared with PCC and my staff, as a “Mother Church”, we should endeavour to raise new clergy, deaconesses and pastors from our community. This is the answer I sometimes give when members ask me why I am not asking Bishop to post more clergy here. The pool of clergy is always limited, especially with missions needs as well in our six deaneries. Our gain here is a loss somewhere else. Likewise, when I served for 14 years in St James’ Church, I have not asked for someone to be sent in either. Instead very prayerfully, we pipelined potential pastors, clergy ordinands and missionaries for future needs, starting them off either in practical ministry as parish workers or going straight into biblical or theological training.

A clergy or pastor is shaped in community. These “proofing" and preparation processes take years.  Sometimes people think that whether a person should be ordained is solely Bishop’s choice. In our diocese, the process begins much earlier. The ordinands are often “bubbled up” through the life of the parish or offered by the parish community. The “bubbling up” process is a wonderful one, as a potential clergy discovers his calling through humble serving and being intertwined with a community, who will affirm his calling eventually. The disciples exhorted the early Christian community (Acts 6:3) “Choose from among you." Even as I speak, we already have in training or planning, those who have sensed this ministry calling. Some will eventually serve here or posted to serve elsewhere in other parts of the Anglican family.

In October, we hope to help our Cathedral community to be more aware of some of our community services and ministries. The Cathedral herself is directly involved via CITY Community Services which runs student care and befrienders club programmes in neighbourhood schools. We also run the Home for the Aged where we care for “homeless" seniors. We also cross cultures with our Befriending Migrant Workers ministry (BMW) and our Project Khmer H.O.P.E. This weekend, Ds Bessie Lee will be drawing attention to these. As always, we will need manpower and financial resources. If you like to help, please contact Pat Aw (pataw@citycomm.org.sg, CITY) or Adeline Hee at adelinehee@cathedral.org.sg (for BMW, PKH).

On the second weekend, we celebrate our Diocesan flagship medical work through the work of Singapore Anglican Community Services and St Andrew’s Mission Hospital (SACS/SAMH). We also want to draw attention to issues of mental health. Both Revd Gilbert Wong and Archdeacon Wong Tak Meng will be speaking at our Services. They are both familiar with hospital chaplaincy work and able to speak on how Christians can be more involved in these areas of care-giving and healing. A good number from our Cathedral community are already involved in SACS/SAMH as workers or volunteers.

On the third weekend, we will be observing Diocesan Healthcare Sunday. This is an annual event where we remember and honour our healthcare workers. And on the fourth, we are inviting the Director of Prisons Fellowship of Singapore, Andrew Tay to speak at our Nave morning Services. How much can the Cathedral community help ex-offenders who are willing to change? We will see.

Today (Sunday), we will be joining the PraySingapore event at the SportsHub. May it inspire many of us to pray “unceasingly” for His destiny to be fulfilled through this city-nation.