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1 September 2019 | Vicar Writes

Reflecting and Thanksgiving at Our Bicentennial

By Terry Wong

"And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth,
having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they
should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him…”
Acts 17:26,27

Paul's message to the Areopagus serves as a good reminder for our Bicentennial reflections. The arrival of Raffles was a pivotal moment. As our Prime Minister has said, "Raffles landed at a spot near here and persuaded the Sultan of Johor to allow the British East India Company to establish a trading post in Singapore. That was a crucial turning point in our history. It set this island on a trajectory leading to where we are today.”

Indeed, Singapore’s history is one of many arrivals throughout the centuries. Through the rise and ebb of the tides on our shores, we have become what we are today. Others are still arriving. Our city is still becoming.

Some of us have “felt our ways toward Him and found Him" (Acts 17:27a). There are many stories just within the Cathedral community herself. Our spiritual growth has been intertwined with that of the nation. Whether we are born here or belong to one of the arrivals, we have grown to love this city and nation. I have always felt that being a Christian should deepen this commitment even more, for we sense the divine call to seek the welfare of the city (Jeremiah 29:7).

Both church and nation are richly indebted to those who have come before us. As Bishop Chiu Ban It has said in our 150th Festival Courier magazine in 1969, "If we ignore the past, we cannot understand the present or forecast the future.”

In our Bicentennial Sermon Series, we will attempt to reflect on Scriptures and our past. And in doing so insightfully, be thankful for what we have and where we are today. Various guest preachers, many who have a role in the wider society or church will be invited to guide our reflections. These sermons can also guide us to reflect deeper on our own call and the part we can play to seek first His Kingdom (rule) as a Christian and citizen.

In the Bicentennial Christmas & Thanksgiving Carol Service on 12th and 13th December, we will also have a chance to celebrate God’s blessings and favour upon our beloved nation over the past 200 years. Hosted in our Nave, the Diocese of Singapore, the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS)  and the Oxford and Cambridge Society of Singapore are the co-organisers of this event.

The evening’s programme will include organ recitals and the ringing of the Bells. The main service programme will be anchored by the Choir of Sidney Sussex College Cambridge and a Combined Church Choir of Singapore. The event on the 12th is an open Service whereas the one on the 13th will be by invitation only.