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4 August 2019 | Vicar Writes

Renewing our Commitment to serve the Jurong Community

By Terry Wong

Some of you may have read media reports that SAC was considering closing down our Child Development Centre (CDC) at Jurong West St 51. This decision was not undertaken lightly and we were responding to the financial struggles our childcare centre has been facing these past few years.

SAC is not adverse to seeing this as a ministry and supporting the work financially. But we were also asking all the hard questions of due diligence as this is a sector which is known to be self-funding or even profit-making. If the demand from the community has dropped after serving her in this manner for 30 over years, we did wonder if we should shift our attention to another need in the community. After all, this childcare work was driven by the call to serve the community.

I am sharing this so that you are aware of the values and principles which drive the way the Church stewards her resources. Apart from finances, what is sometimes not seen is the high level of human leadership and pastoral resources invested in every community work we do.

Over seventy concerned parents cared enough to give us feedback and offered some support. They are telling us that this work is still valued by the community. Encouraged by that, our management team, led by Soh Kim Seng, worked on a practical plan to strengthen the work. This gave the PCC good enough reasons to make a decision to continue running this centre.

Taken on 26th July, Minister Desmond Lee (4th from right) in a photo with the Supervisor (Miss Ding, 2nd from left)), Soh Kim Seng (3rd from left), clergy, teachers and community leaders. Some of the teachers have been serving since the opening of the centre in 1986.

We were also helped by Minister Desmond Lee’s visit to the centre last Friday (26th July). Coincidentally, he is the Minister for Social and Family Development (MSF) and also the Jurong GRC MP. MSF and MOE jointly oversee the pre-school sector through her agency, ECDA (Early Childhood Development Agency). We discussed practical ways which can help the centre to do better, including seeking grants for families which may be struggling with paying the fees. We are also in discussions with our Anglican pre-school arm, St James’ Pre-school Services (SJPS) to find various ways to strengthen our programmes and training of teachers.

This work started in 1986 and was officially opened by Bishop Moses Tay in 1987. It has a wonderful theme “Let the children come to Me” and paintings on the wall illustrate this. She has been a blessing to many children and their families all these years. Our Westside Anglican Church has been offering active chaplaincy support.

We can say that things are looking up for this centre. Last Saturday morning, many parents turned up to support the teachers, and the joy on their faces can be seen on our bulletin banner.
We cherish your continual support and prayers. If some of you feel led to serve in our Management Committee, do email our chairman at kimseng2@singnet.com.sg