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20 March 2016 | Vicar Writes

Community

By Terry Wong

This is a video commercial. Imagine a piano going softly. Imagine the visuals as the narrator speaks:

I have been a part of four Church communities in my 30 years of being a Christian: Glad Tidings Assembly in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, St John’s - St Margaret’s Church (SJSM), St James’ Church and now, St Andrew’s Cathedral. 

As you can see, each move was caused by factors outside my control.

I only had the option to choose when I first came to Singapore  in 1984. As a first year Uni student, I was a “church hopper.” Typically, we visited the “mega churches.” They often come with very good music, comfortable seats and inspiring speakers. In fact, some of the seats were so comfortable that they caused a certain measure of disattention. 

One day, a fellow student suggested that we visit a small nearby Anglican Church called SJSM. She was a little church on top of a hill. I can still remember that Sunday morning. It was a small congregation of less than a hundred. The worship started and the music band was, well, far from polished. The pastor dramatically jogged in a track suit before he preached a sermon about running the race. We thought we were in a Sunday School class. 

You can guess what was going on in our minds - we are not returning.

After the Service was over – unlike the other huge churches – you get to not just shake the pastor’s hands, but have a little chat with him as well. When they found out that I was an experienced guitarist, they asked me to return next Sunday and play in the worship band. This is unthinkable in any church today. But it got us to return. 

And so we stayed, at least for a while, we thought then. The sermons were still strange, including seed throwing as the preacher continued to ensure his sermon was a “4D” experience. We were longing for better spiritual food. Sometimes we went to another church in the afternoon for a more complete meal.

What finally “sealed the deal” for us was how this pastor would visit us during our exam time. He would come right into our rooms and on one occasion, knelt next to us and laid his hands to pray for us one by one.

Over time, SJSM was slowly becoming a community for us. We felt loved, welcomed and needed. There was room for us to serve and give.

We stayed. I stayed. I always wonder what I would be or doing today if not for my sinking of roots in SJSM. Eventually, she became the loci for my family, friends, ministry and career.

I am a great believer in the local church as a community. I don’t go to church. I belong to one. It is more than a sermon. More than a worship service. It is about being a part of the Lord’s people somewhere. I don’t run away when she goes through difficult times. Not even when the pastor turns up in a track suit.  

Is the Cathedral family your home? If you sense you are called to her, then sink your roots here. 

Join us.

Be at the AGM 2016. 

(The piano ends)