Restoring and Renewing
"Let them deliver it into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the LORD,
and let them give it to the workmen who are in the house of the LORD to repair the damages of the house,
to the carpenters and the builders and the masons and for buying timber and hewn stone to repair the house.
2 Kings 22:5,6
The brochure to raise money for our Heritage Fund is inserted in today's bulletin. It will furnish the background for the project and you should be able to see that this planning has involved many years of careful consultations and preparations.
Being good stewards with what we already have is a fundamental responsibility even as we seek to cater for growth and consider new facilities. As has often been said, the Cathedral is dripping with history from the time when the land was allocated in 1822 (which makes 2022 another bicentennial to note).
Are we doing these works because the building has been gazetted as a monument by the authorities? Common sense of stewardship responsibility would have obligated us to keep the building in good shape because of the spiritual significance of this site. She has been the centre of worship, community and city-wide witness. As an Anglican bishop remarked concerning the role of church buildings and the care we should put in the design:
"At present the Church may be mistaken for a Town Hall, a College or an Assembly Room. The strangers resorting to this great emporium of commerce have no means of knowing for what it is destined. By the erection of a tower and spire, rising about 50 feet above the balustrade of the roof, its sacred design will be manifested, and the surrounding heathen will see the honour we put upon our religion, and the care we take to mark the reverence for the solemn worship of Almighty God by the appropriate distinctions of its outward appearance." 1
Our desire to honour God through our buildings, the priority we give to worship and preserving the architectural features which distinguishes the witness of the church should continue to guide the way we maintain and build on this site. While it may be a “monumental obligation”, it is also our privilege that we have a historical building right at the heart of our land which will always mark her age (19th century) while the surrounding land is being landscaped and developed for the growth in worship and ministry needs.
As recorded for us in 2 Kings 22, restoration of the temple in Jewish history often went hand in hand with the renewal of worship and spiritual lives of the people, and in particular, the return to the Word of God.
The Word is about our discipleship/following of Christ and our witness to the world about His saving grace. This is one reason why SAC has moved beyond her Nave facility to develop further on her land. 2005 was another significant year when the Cathedral New Sanctuary (CNS) was built.
We restore to honour what we had been given (Nave and land) and yet renew it (land) for the on-going work of Word and witness.
1 Views of Bishop Daniel Wilson, Bishop of Calcutta in Charles Burton Buckley, An Anecdotal History of Old Times in Singapore 1819-1867, p289-290