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Home Explore Methodist Message: Feb 2022

Methodist Message: Feb 2022

Published by methodistmessage, 2022-01-27 02:50:41

Description: Methodist Message is the official monthly publication of The Methodist Church in Singapore.


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ISSN 0129-6868 MCI (P) 044/11/2021 THE METHODIST CHURCH IN SINGAPORE Vol 124 No 2 FEBRUARY 2022 Methodist Social Principles: The Sphere of the Family

Contents 1 Bishop’s Message Methodist Message 2 Events—Coming Up 3 Church Life—TRAC Highlights oyrwoniuientehldidkiwsgeoiytwroadulrsirmt?ihnCeegadln?ipa!Dy?DooCuoaynoyduoryauotwauhk—adevoeepnshiapgoanwtpo?aesDy?ro 4 Church Profile—Paya Lebar Methodist Church 7 People—Cecil Wong and Bishop Dr Gordon Wong We’re looking for volunteers! 10 People—A. Susila 12 Church Life—Spreading the joy of Christmas in tPh/ehyoicnWPothfornroaorgitegvtorrvereiafbairrpeapusewht:htatieitoesdcornnse/ssdhr:/sepeSt:dolaouptenboIcmyclo-lotheunshvedstie/lrntipirtrgboaaecuntrehvtosyleee:srnceostpkot:thsththo,oeoeuawtdrotdtiratsrmliarataotewyiirfgctobilheucceotvolteosembskneitcss the heartlands inspiring 15 Opinion—Three ways to have a better LNY 18 Opinion—A time for meaningful conversations If you have these skills, or any others that 21 Opinion—LNY: A Christian Perspective make MM a better read, contact us! 22 Reach Out—Welfare Services 24 Reach Out—Missions 26 Relationships—You & Your family 27 Hymns & Songs 28 Opinion—Soundings 30 Opinion—THINK 32 Poem 33 What does being a Methodist mean to you? 34 Events—Looking Ahead might [email protected] EDITORIAL BOARD The official monthly publication of The Methodist Church in Singapore. Published material does not necessarily reflect the official view of The Methodist Church. Adviser and Publisher All Scripture quoted is based on the English Standard Version unless otherwise stated. Dr Anthony Goh Chairperson 70 Barker Road #06-04 Singapore 309936 Council on Communications 6478-4793 | 6478-4763 | Editor [email protected] Sheri Goh Sub-editor Tan Chiu Ai Design & Production by Londonbob Design — Printed by Adred Creation Print Pte Ltd Have something to say or share? Email us at [email protected] Communications Executive Jason Woo Proofreader Tan Sheng Ling

BISHOP’S MESSAGE Bishop Dr Gordon Wong was elected Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore in 2020. He served as President of the Trinity Annual Conference from 2013–2020. God places the lonely in families “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families […].” (Ps 68:5–­ 6 NIV) A ccording to UNICEF, there are an estimated 153 million children worldwide who are orphans. UNICEF defines an orphan as a child (18 years old or younger) who has lost one or both parents. This number would be much larger if we were to include children where one or both parents have abandoned their child, or are no longer able to live with their child due to incarceration or other worrying reasons. In Singapore, there are about 800 children who have been placed in children’s homes because of such reasons. This issue of Methodist Message focuses on the Sphere of the Family. We all believe that it is so important and precious to belong to a loving and supportive family. Sadly, we can probably add to the number of “orphans” in this world if we include those who have been, not just abandoned or forgotten, but rejected and excluded. And of course, the number would be even larger if we were to include, not just children 18 years old or younger, but adult children who no longer enjoy the support of a family, through any one or more of the reasons mentioned above. The Bible, in Psalm 68:5, describes God as the “father of orphans” (NRSV), but then in the very next verse describes the orphan more broadly as one who is desolate or lonely. “God sets the lonely in families” (NIV). We believe in a God who “makes a home for the lonely” (NAS). We live in a world where many of us are, or feel, orphaned and lonely. God wants to set us all in loving families. Let’s not turn people away from our families, but instead let us work with God to be a family that welcomes orphans and all who are lonely. For we serve a God who is “the father of orphans” and who “sets the lonely in families”. 1 |METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022 1

Events ¢ Coming Up SWHOEPRHSHERIPDING SOULS IN A Webinar Series FDiLggOinWg Dee2pe.r0into Doing Contemporary WorshipTWvaPtifdaePkaltrogoepeycaerwtuhoacrtittin1onthord:iatc2inereiqiDdcprn:eucooietetdpeaooepddiaCsnssrphaectwwtoaoieecuonnotorlmtsptnhtdrrsuewesspiynhhtmpnoiohpitiitrpprhpwueayaaocrsostetrmtwreyoetrixaicsorrcpowirvhvisneypliiiotoocctpsaWerrepfesetsmrsroithaeeoe?, Friday1, 88-1,0p2m5(SFinegFaebpaorturueriTnaigm:rey) | 2021 Zoom Online on Glenn Dr Adam Jonathan Deborah Ann Stallsmith Perez Ottaway Wong Rev Dr Lester Rev Andrew Ruth Eastes REGISTER NOW! hotrtspcsa:/n/ttihneyuQrRl.ccoomde/s: siw-flow2 RZFeoogorimsetnrdqaeutitioarinielssfe,inepclielsuaSdsi$en2ge0mppaaesilrsupcseordasteownw.oilrlsbheipe@mmasilmedutsoicy.oeduut.hsegday before the webinar. |2 METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022

Church Life ¢ TRAC Highlights Alison Lai is a counsellor at Barker Road Methodist Church. How has COVID-19 transformed your family life? L iving in the wake of a pandemic has meant living with The pandemic has left five million dead and counting, unrecognised loss—the loss of things we used to take but many emotional injuries have gone unnoticed and for granted, such as meeting friends in large groups, concealed. Fear of the virus has changed the way we live playing football, having a class reunion or travelling. our lives. Nonetheless, just as the airplane safety guideline Christmas celebrations were curbed, the New Year was tells us to don our own oxygen mask before helping a child, subdued and now Lunar New Year will follow suit due to safe we need to prioritise our own mental health as parents so management guidelines. Quiet, intimate gatherings are the that we can respond calmly to our children and model order of the day. Lunar New Year routines will change— how they can manage change, uncertainty and stress. I angpaos have gone digital to limit contact surfaces; snacks believe that teaching these core social emotional skills, portioned out and tightly sealed; sofas and coffee tables like self-awareness, empathy, optimism and resilience are sanitised once visitors leave. just as important as encouraging them to become expert swimmers or gifted mathematicians. Children are increasingly meeting their friends and playing games virtually instead of hanging out or playing sports But where do we even begin? Not all homes and families together. How do we limit their screen time since this is are safe havens of love and acceptance. We can take their new way of interacting? Would we rather they not time to extend kindness by offering emotional support, have this channel of communication at all? for example, listening to others whether over the phone or FaceTime, or volunteer as a family to deliver Because we were stuck at home, my family’s attempt to groceries to a neighbour or clothes to a migrant worker. spend time together led my dad to teach us how to play We can show our children how to extend compassion to mahjong. Why not? After all, we have enough kids at home. others as we navigate this challenge together. Let us Aunty protested that we were teaching our kids how to leave judgement behind as we focus on connection and gamble, but the time that we spent around the small square moving forward together as a human family. table led to some great chats and bonding with our kids. Given the magnitude of this pandemic, we need to Being together for extended periods of time due to home- acknowledge the challenges we have faced and the based learning and working from home has brought my exhaustion experienced, and give families permission family closer, but this was not the case for everyone. to grieve the loss of normalcy. But let us not give the During the pandemic, many parents experienced pandemic the last word. God is the Word—the Word that increasing concerns while social supports eroded. Worries became flesh, the Word that is wisdom and the Word that over finances, social isolation, as well as emotional will help us overcome. All that God is came to us in that upheaval added to the woes of school and childcare One Powerful Word we call Jesus. He has gifted us with centre closures. Balancing work responsibilities with the capacity for resilience in and through the family and supervising children’s education caused great disruption Church. The rich Biblical tradition of prayer and lament- and a disproportionate level of stress for families. As a making point the way forward—we can grieve and live result, there has been an increase in cases of domestic with the loss while looking with hope to the One who violence since the pandemic began. triumphed over the grave. |METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022 3

Church Life ¢ Paya Lebar Methodist Church Text and photos courtesy of Paya Lebar Methodist Church 90 years old and going strong Paya Lebar Methodist Church celebrates God’s goodness I t happened on a bus one day last June. Out of the To all involved, it was a mind-blowing experience of blue, an elderly woman spoke up and asked the “Immanuel, God with us” from beginning to end: it teenager seated beside her for some help. While the was God who orchestrated the meeting; God who gave request was unexpected, it was—especially in the midst form to the work and function to the painting; God who of the COVID-19 pandemic—not unknown. ordained the mutual blessing.1 But God—He knew what it was about. Similar threads of divine intervention run through PLMC’s 90-year history. Hence, instead of marking the church’s 90th By His leading, the “chance” meeting turned into a merely on her 10 July birthday, the entire 2022 has been multi-faceted mission through which a group of young designated “The Year of Celebration”, slated for observances people from Paya Lebar Methodist Church (PLMC) helped that remember God’s amazing goodness and faithfulness in this Aunty clear her home, clean it and create a painting the past, while yet positioning the church to receive what to brighten her living space. He is unveiling for her in the present and in the future. Unbeknownst to them, their Holy Spirit-inspired work “God has woven the lives of past and present generations of art mirrored flowers on to those printed on the into a glorious ‘tapestry of power and love’, which is the blouse Aunty wore on the day they presented the theme for our year-long anniversary celebration,” said painting to her. Rev Dr Kow Shih Ming, Pastor-in-Charge of PLMC, in his 2022 vision statement. |4 METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022

The slate of activities includes: In addition, we will celebrate blessing the community and the nations with about S$1 million 1. DOWN MEMORY LANE or more through the 90th Anniversary Blessing Fund. $900,000 of the Blessing Fund to bless 90 ministries The digital exhibition highlights milestones in PLMC’s and organisations will come from the church history, as well as the contributions of pastors and members. budget. The other $100,000 or more that will go to Referencing the book of Exodus’ multiple exhortations to the community will come from PLMC worshippers. “remember”, Rev Dr Kow said: “Remembrance challenges The second offering received on 11 of the Holy us to consecrate ourselves afresh. In seeing how in the Communion Weekends in 2022 will be designated past a consecrated community is blessed to bless, we are for the community through the 90th Anniversary inspired to similarly consecrate ourselves to be blessed to Blessing Fund. Direct donations to the Blessing Fund bless. When we celebrate what God did, it builds our faith. will likewise be used to bless the community. If this is what God did, God can do it again—and more.” Rev Dr Kow said, “My prayer is that every PLMC 2. PLMC CONFERENCE worshipper, young or older, will give in faith so that they can experience the blessing of being a With the world still in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic, generous giver to the Lord.” our much-anticipated Church Camp has evolved into a Church Conference instead. Sub-themed “Generations Finally, all the work going into the Anniversary Unbroken”, the conference (16 to 19 June) sets out to Celebrations will yield no eternal significance “cross-honour” and embrace the Kingdom destiny of if we do not depend on God in everything we each of the church family’s multiple generations. Keynote do. We must learn to live the truth found in the speakers include Pastors Edmund Chan, Chern Hock Chye words attributed to Augustine: “Pray as though and Nicholas Choo. everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” 3. OUTREACH IN POWER & LOVE Hence, we will have a church prayer meeting once With our church vision as “A Family Blessed to Bless a month in 2022. We started this during “40 Days the Community and the Nations”, blessing others in the of Blessing”. In 2022, we will continue to have this name of Christ is part of our church’s DNA. Ministries church prayer meeting on the first Wednesday of launched in the previous year’s Churchwide Engagement every month. Programme, “40 Days of Blessing”, under the banner “Project Safe Place”, will continue, kicking off in 2022 We give all thanks and praise to our Eternal God with a blood donation drive on 6 Feb. From March to June, who has richly blessed Paya Lebar Methodist Church “Let’s Eat Together (Don’t Say Bo Jio!)” hospitality will throughout these 90 years. To God alone be the glory! be extended to poor and needy individuals and groups, and other pre-believers that PLMC worshippers come 1 Watch the full testimony at into contact with, with the aim of building “a bridge of 2 relationship where Jesus can walk from our hearts into theirs”, Rev Dr Kow shared. |METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022 5 4. CHRISTMAS MUSICAL The anniversary celebrations will culminate with “A Christmas Tale”, a musical planned for 22, 23 and 24 Dec. This will showcase God’s plan of redemption for man from the beginning of creation, right through to the rebellion and the turning away of His chosen people, through the prophets, right up to the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. All are welcome to join us. For more information and registration, go to or scan the QR code in December.

2022 Admissions Now Open ACS (International) Singapore is a distinctive Building Through Belief, this school of choice provides international secondary school open to all Singaporeans & other nationalities, offering an • Exceptional examination results, very strong value-added achievement and an all- all-round English-based education for students round holistic education aged 12 to 18 years leading to the International General Certificate of Secondary Education • 50:50 mix of local and international teachers who uphold the dual Methodist ethos (IGCSE) and the International Baccalaureate and ACS heritage Diploma Programme (IBDP). • Small class sizes with overall student-teacher ratio of 8.7 : 1 61 Jalan Hitam Manis, Singapore 278475 • 40 different CCAs – 16 Sporting, 12 Visual and Performing Arts, 12 Special Interest Groups • Over 25 overseas trips per year • Over 200 formal student leadership positions • Scholarships for 4 Singaporeans to undertake the IBDP Mr Gavin Kinch Mrs Tan Siew Hoon Achievements include Principal Vice-Principal • Students with perfect score of 45 points in IBDP • 20 “Top in the World” awards in IGCSE examinations over each of the past nine years • Students accepted to Oxford and Cambridge universities for the past eight years • Admissions to top universities in the UK, the US, Australia and Singapore • PSLE and Singapore GCE ‘O’ Level students achieve outstanding value-added examination results for the IBDP with improved pathways to good universities • Successes at national level in Athletics, Touch Rugby, Debating, Orchestra, Volleyball, Taekwondo, Ice Hockey, Fencing, Swimming, Artistic Swimming, Rhythmic Gymnastics and Wushu. Mr Christopher Hayward Dr Kristopher Achter What the parents say… Vice-Principal Vice-Principal “ACS (International) ignites students' passion to learn through building strong relationships For more information with deeply devoted and highly experienced teachers and excellent pedagogic and sporting infrastructure. The school has achieved a fine blend of academic rigour and holistic learning. Please contact Joseph Ng The emphasis on CCAs and community service as well as the ample opportunities for student or Serene Lim leadership makes ACS (International) a 'cut above' and the preferred choice for our children.” at +65 6472 1477 or [email protected] Larisa and Shivinder Singh “Sending our daughter to ACS (International) was the best decision we made. She used to be shy and introverted and has now become a confident, caring and motivated student leader.” Debra and Samuel Koh “We deeply appreciate the contribution ACS (International) has made towards making our son confident, capable and thoughtful. The school has provided an environment of personal care, support and encouragement to nurture him into a compassionate young man. We are also very proud of his academic, leadership, co-curricular and public speaking skill development.” Anju Uppal “We like the holistic learning environment of ACS (International). Apart from academics, the school gives the students plenty of learning opportunities outside the walls of the classroom through service trips in continents as far as Africa, school projects and events, CCAs, student leadership roles and more. Our children thoroughly enjoy the IB programme, the holistic environment of the school, and are very proud to be students of ACS (International). The school has helped our children to grow and mature in so many ways, whilst equipping them with the necessary skills needed for their university studies and future endeavours. We are very glad to have sent both of our children to ACS (International).” Steven and Pau Kim Kan

People ¢ Sheri Goh is the Editor of Methodist Message. / Photos courtesy of Cecil Wong Cecil Wong and Bishop Dr Gordon Wong: A conversation C ecil Wong, who turns 100 this year, is a lifelong Methodist, having Cecil Wong in his office in the 1970s attended Kampong Kapor Methodist Church (MC) and Wesley MC. CaetchiloWmoenign He was a student at Anglo-Chinese School (ACS) and served as 2010 a member of the ACS Board of Governors from 1955 to 1958, and was President of the ACS Old Boys’ Association from 1958 to 1960. He is also the father of David Wong, Rev Dr Norman Wong (Chaplain of the Methodist Welfare Services), Bishop Dr Gordon Wong—all ACS alumni—and Elizabeth Wong, who attended Methodist Girls’ School. Methodist Message sat down with Cecil Wong and Bishop Dr Gordon Wong to reminisce about the past, and catch up with them about life and family. Here are some excerpts from that conversation. Cecil Wong, seated far left in middle row, in the Anglo-Chinese School cricket first XI, 1938 First winter in Cambridge |METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022 7

Cecil Wong and Bishop Dr Gordon Wong: A conversation Bishop Dr Gordon Wong (GW): So, Dad, when I was GW: Mum passed away when I was only a baby, so you young, what did you want me to be when I grew up? pretty much had to raise us [on your own]. Do you look back and wish you had done anything differently in the Cecil Wong (CW): When I was young, my parents gave way you raised us? myself and my sister free reign [to choose what we wanted to be]. Of course, they guided us and encouraged CW: I am generally happy because I think all of you have us to go to church, and taught us what is right and turned out quite well. I am proud of you all, and I’ve got wrong, [such as] not to tell a lie. But apart from that, a Bishop! I was free to choose what profession I wanted to be. In those days, in Singapore, parents wanted their children I had a good start [because] my father was a chartered to either become doctors or lawyers. Accountants would accountant. His company was the [one of the] first come lower down [in status], and I suppose even going Asian chartered accountants. He was on his own [in the into the Church would come even lower down.1 beginning] and he built up quite a good practice, and so I had a good start. I tried to help all of you, where and At some point, I remember you saying that you looked when I could. up to Norman [i.e. Rev Dr Norman Wong], and he was already [in the Church]. In the financial world, pastors GW: Yes, you helped us a lot! Do you have any favourite are not as well-paid as doctors, lawyers and, of course, memories about our times together? businessmen. But as far as I was concerned, it was fine [for the two of you to go into the Church]. CW: We’ve had a lot of good fun together. In terms of sports, we play together, and we enjoy that. And we have parties together. During Lunar New Year, you [and your family] come around early to our place. GW: And also on the eve—we come for the reunion dinner. Last year, because of COVID-19, we had to do it in groups. Do you remember there was a time when I got quite angry with you? CWoenocin1l g2anwJudelyKrei1smm95ea2trried CW: We used you to call you Gordon’s second birthday chilli padi! Chilli is the hot stuff, and chilli padi is supposed to be even hotter. GW: I must have got angry quite often! I don’t know what led you to call me chilli padi, but I remember quite clearly once when I was probably throwing a tantrum. I must have said something along the lines of how it would be so much nicer living with Uncle Thiam Siew.2 And you replied, “Well, if you’d like to live with him, you go ahead and ask him!” Obviously, I didn’t want that, and I just wanted to say I’m sorry, because it was a very hurtful thing for a child to say to a parent. |8 METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022

On Dr Chen Su Lan (the founder of Chen Su Lan Methodist Children’s Home) An avid sportsman, Cecil Wong enjoys playing golf with his sons CW: I had quite a few friends who were in [ACS with me] right through [from primary one to primary six]. CW: I don’t even remember that at all! I think of Dr Chen Chi-Nan—he was son of Dr Chen Su Lan, who was one of the first medical graduates in GW: Do you think I’ve raised my children in a way that’s Singapore. He was a Christian, of what I call the “stern different from or similar to the way you’ve raised me? I Christian type”. He ran an opium clinic in Kampong suspect I might have raised Deborah and Jeremy3 in very Java Road. In those days, we had rickshaw pullers, much the way that I feel you have raised me. and they had quite a hard life. Some of them took to opium as relief. And of course, if you imbibe too much, you become an addict. That was where Dr Chen Su Lan helped, by running this opium clinic. An act of kindness is never forgotten CW: I agree with that in the sense that you’ve given CW: We were staying at River Valley Road, and my father them a free hand to do what they want. took me in a rickshaw to Coleman Street. On my first day in school, I was dressed appropriately [in the school GW: I think so as well. You supported us, gave us the uniform of white shirt and blue shorts], but I didn’t have free hand to explore, to make mistakes; you were a very a pencil or eraser. patient, kind, not demanding sort of father. I sat next to a boy named Cherry Quah. Cherry had two Some other extracts from their conversation: or three pencils and two erasers, and he immediately offered me a pencil and eraser. I didn’t even have to On Rev Dr Norman Wong, who was in a baby contest… ask. And I will always remember that, […] and I’ve always remembered him as a good friend. He was a CW: Norman was a big baby—9 pounds 10 ounces [i.e. good badminton player, and represented his house in 4.4kg]. He was a very good baby. We called him a gentle the house competition. giant. There was a baby contest in Cairnhill, and we entered him in it. Before it started, he was acting very Years later, when he passed away, I saw his obituary good. But at the contest, when the judge picked him up, and that he had taken on a Christian name, which told he started to make a row, and he couldn’t be stopped! So me that he had become a Roman Catholic, so I was very he didn’t win a prize. happy for that. …and was also a star athlete GW: Yes, I remember that. And what struck me when you first told me this story about Cherry was that his CW: When Norman was at ACS, he was in the finals of little act of kindness stayed in your mind for more than the inter-school hockey team and they won. The finals 90 years. And that is what God wants us to do—to always were played on the Padang, on the ground of the SRC look for opportunities to show kindness to people. Did [Singapore Recreation Club], and Minister Eddie Barker you enjoy this conversation, Dad? It’s always nice to hear was there. He and I used to play as full-backs in the same you tell stories, about different parts of your life and the Singapore national hockey team. different people that you’ve met. When Norman joined the Church, he gave up playing 1 Cecil Wong’s father, Evan Wong, was one of the first qualified accountants hockey. One day I saw Barker and he asked, “What in Singapore. He founded Evan Wong & Co, one of the first Asian chartered happened to your son?” He was looking for Norman to accountant companies. 2 Bishop Dr Wong was referring to Cheong Thiam Siew, maybe play [hockey] for Singapore. who helmed real estate firm Knight Frank for almost 60 years. Cecil Wong and Cheong Thiam Siew were close friends. 3 Bishop Dr Wong is married to Lai Foon, and they have two children, Deborah and Jeremy. 4 Dr Chen Chi Nan, a member of Wesley MC, passed away in Vancouver in September 2020. 5 ACS used to be located at Coleman Street, before they moved to Barker Road in September 1950. |METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022 9

People ¢ A. Susila has been an early childhood educator for more than 30 years, and was one of the recipients of the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) Awards. She received the Outstanding Early Intervention Professional Award, a new award created this year to recognise the important role early intervention professionals play in supporting children with developmental needs. She is a member of Jurong Tamil Methodist Church. / Photo courtesy of A. Susila Love God by loving our children Susila: Starting at a new school can be exciting, but it can also be a milestone filled with anxiety and uncertainty. As parents, don’t show your anxiety about their transition to the new school, because your child will be anxious too. Discuss your child’s fears and expectations with them, and reassure them that you will be there for them physically and emotionally, before school and after school. To make the transition easier, start your child’s new school-year sleep routine several weeks before school starts. This will help ensure that your child’s transition to a new school doesn’t include transitioning to a new sleeping schedule at the same time. M ethodist Message (MM): The COVID-19 pandemic Before the first day of school, take your child on a trial run. Go has been going on for two years. It has been to the school with them using the route you’ve decided on. hard for everyone, but even more so for children This will help make their first day of school less intimidating. who have started going to preschool during the pandemic. How can parents help their children develop normal The morning of the first day of school can often end up interpersonal relationships with schoolmates and families being chaos, especially if you have more than one child to even though we are all masked up and social distancing? get ready. In order to avoid the morning rush, get everything ready the night before. Planning the night before will allow A. Susila: Socialising with friends is an important and your child to get plenty of sleep, get out the door on time positive part of every child’s life. With the pandemic, there and not feel any additional anxiety. have been many essential safety rules that have been put in place that hinder the preschool children’s interpersonal MM: How can parents help their children who might still relationships with their school friends. It is even more experience anxiety at their new school even after a few weeks? challenging for very young children, who need close physical contact—such as through high-fives, hugging, Susila: Many pre-schoolers suffer from separation anxiety handshakes—to understand the need for social distancing when it comes to school. To adults, the number of hours and mask-wearing. a child spends in school might not seem long, but for an anxious child, it feels like an eternity before they can see However, children are perhaps more adaptable and flexible their parents again.  Also, it’s so difficult for a parent to [than adults] in using new ways of socialising. The use of peel their crying child off their leg and head to work like technology, such as Zoom and other virtual platforms, has nothing’s wrong. made it easier for children to socialise with friends and extended family from a distance. Small uncrowded indoor It helps to establish a quick routine for drop off from day activities, with fully vaccinated extended family members one. Don’t linger at school; don’t hold your child in your lap and friends, are also possible. All that is required is a little or sit at the table with them. Instead, hug your child at the imagination and pre-planning. door and say, “See you soon!” Every minute you prolong the inevitable, the harder you make it for your child to tell you MM: Quite a lot of kids in our Methodist community have goodbye. A child is MUCH more likely to get upset when a just started attending new schools. How can parents help parent leaves if the parent lingers for too long. Let your child their children adjust to going to a new school, especially if know that once you do your special goodbye signal, you’ll they are starting school for the first time? head to work, and they’ll head to the classroom to learn and play. Then remind them that you’ll be back to get them |10 METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022

before they know it! If your child cries EVERY morning, have developmental trajectory. While some speed through their something to divert their attention—such as by distracting developmental milestones, others might require additional their attention to their favourite toys in the classroom—even support to help them realise their potential. My role is a few minutes can make a lot of difference. to work with both teachers and families to implement necessary interventions to support these children. Remind them that at the end of the school day, you’ll be there to pick them up. Tell them that you can’t wait to hear When your heart is fully invested in a person, you will about their day. Please don’t promise a treat after school if embrace their potential and capabilities. they don’t cry, or threaten not to come back to pick them up if they cry. Be sure they get a good night’s sleep every MM: How would you encourage parents and siblings to deal night, so they are well-rested and there is one less reason with strangers who might not understand their children for them to cry when they get to school. with developmental needs, especially when their kids behave unusually or act up in public? MM: Congratulations on receiving the Outstanding Early Intervention Professional Award! What are early intervention Susila: People will be curious why your child/sibling is not professionals, and what are some of the developmental able to self-regulate their behaviour.  Not everyone in our needs of the children that you work with? community might have come across a family with a child with special needs and may not understand the challenges Susila: An early intervention professional works alongside the family face. They would not always need to know what paediatricians, therapists and other professionals to support to say or do.  Sometimes, situations can be overwhelming children with special academic, social and behavioural for everyone and it’s okay to ask for help when you need it. needs, as well as their families. Their role includes assessing the child’s development and inquiring about contributing MM: What’s your advice to burnt-out parents who might factors such as their environment and medical history. They have had to work from home and deal with the circuit work with parents and teachers to design and implement breaker, school closures or mandatory quarantine? an Individualised Educational Plan that best fits the child’s needs during the necessary intervention. Susila: It is sometimes stressful for parents to spend time with their children after a long day at work. Take time to I work with children between two and six years old who talk to your child (e.g. look at family pictures or storybooks) have been diagnosed as falling within the mild to moderate to create stories/sentences through writing/drawing and range in any of the following: developmental delays (such playing games (e.g. card games, boardgames, computer as speech delay; global developmental delay; intellectual games). This will enable parents to track their child’s disabilities), autism spectrum disorder, physical disability, progress or regress. hearing impairment (with prescribed hearing aids only) and visual impairment (with prescribed corrective lenses only). Parents can also work with their child’s teacher to plan their next activity, such as through (e.g. take-home or MM: Why did you decide to go into a career that involves home-based learning activities). This information can help childhood education, and how did you come to focus on parents to collaborate with teachers to support their child’s children with developmental needs? learning more holistically. Susila: I started working with Presbyterian Community MM: How does being a Christian help you to be a good Services (PCS) Grow & Glow Jurong West Childcare Centre educator? in 1987. I was pleased working with typical children and to integrate the children with special needs in the mainstream Susila: I thank the Lord for having placed me in this “mission settings. This enriching experience working with these field” as an Early Childhood Educator with Presbyterian children is the only window that has helped me and is still Community Services (PCS) since 1987. Embracing the encouraging me to enhance my career to serve them better. organisation’s vision and mission has enabled me to honour and magnify the name of our Lord through the services As a Senior Resource Teacher, I was empowered to help of PCS (vision) and to meet challenges and needs of the more children to attain additional aid as early as possible. community in Christian witness to touch lives (mission). Unlike their counterparts, children with special needs require special education schemes and related services if The Lord has given me two mentors—Ms  Kanniga  and they want to realise their full potential. Ms  Gomy—who have always embraced my potential and encouraged me. This journey has enabled me to become a It might be more challenging to work with children with “fruitful tree”, turning inspiration into action and I want to, developmental needs, but every child has a unique in turn, inspire many more “fruitful trees” in the EC sector. |METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022 11

Church Life ¢ Christmas 2021 Ashley Ho is the Social Media Executive at MCS Comms. / Photos courtesy of the various Methodist Churches ChristmasSpreading the joy of in the heartlands D uring the Christmas season last year, Methodist churches were hard at work spreading the Good News of Christ through warm and charitable actions that bought much cheer to their respective communities. We share with you some snippets of the ministries involved in bringing Christ to the heartlands. AMKMC members preparing to distribute the gifts for the various Ang Mo Kio Methodist Church families in need. Gift @ Christmas Ang Mo Kio Methodist Church (AMKMC) brought Christmas to their neighbourhood with their annual donation drive. Their “Gift @ Christmas” initiative raised funds to provide gifts for families in need, by partnering with senior activity centres and social service agencies in Ang Mo Kio. With the time taken for personal distribution of gift hampers, made possible by generous donations, AMKMC members were reminded of the numerous ways they could give! Ang Mo Kio Tamil Methodist Church AMKTMC youths got together to Joy Drive perform a short play Ang Mo Kio Tamil Methodist Church’s (AMKTMC) Christmas celebrations kicked off with the “Joy Drive”, which saw volunteers distributing food packets to migrant workers and their roommates across more than 20 locations. It culminated in an online event in the evening themed “The light that dispelled the darkness”, where many came together to spread the festive cheer. Youths from AMKTMC performed a play, while other youth volunteers conducted an online interactive game segment, in response to AMKTMC’s call for volunteers earlier this year. Pastor-in-charge Rev R. Prabhu delivered the Christmas message, reminding all who were present of the reason for the season. |12 METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022

Making the 2021 Aldersgate Methodist Church Christmas a even special occasion for Toysforyou the children With the goal of making Christmas even more meaningful to the children, Aldersgate MC created “Toysforyou”, a Christmas initiative that gave children in need a chance to select their own toys for the holidays. The team even went the extra mile to decorate the collection space in the church to resemble a toy store in order to complete the entire experience for the beneficiaries! Cairnhill Methodist Church Distances between the volunteers and Bless a Gift Project beneficiaries were shortened thorugh the Cairnhill MC’s “Bless a Gift Project” continues for another use of Zoom year, with the help of parents, kids, and their faithful Children Ministry! In partnership with the children’s homes of Gracehaven, Sunbeam Place and The Haven, Cairnhill Methodist Church has granted the wishes of 105 children and youths, who had been asked to write down their names and wishes for presents. Participating Cairnhill MC families were then assigned a child to pray for, and to buy them a gift with an accompanying card. Distances Paya Lebar Methodist Church between the volunteers and Engaging the old and young! beneficiaries were shortened Paya Lebar MC has gone the extra mile to make thorugh the use Christmas 2021 an event to remember at St Luke’s ElderCare and Hope Student Care Centre. The of Zoom volunteer team dedicated the time to prepare engaging programmes and gifts for their elderly and children that will go a long way in having their lives touched and impacted by God during their time at the centre. |METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022 13

Spreading the joy of Christmas in the heartlands Faith Methodist Church Volunteers arriving at Rainbow Centre bearing presents Spreading cheer at Rainbow Centre Christmas 2021 saw Faith MC partnering with Rainbow Centre to bless their beneficiaries. The collaboration, led by Peh Oon Thian, Faith MC’s Senior Pastoral Team Member for Small Groups, Seniors, and the Mandarin Ministry, witnessed the committee distributing gifts to the Centre’s students as well as engaging them. We hope that many at the children at the Centre felt the love of God through this programme! Pentacost Methodist Church Treasure Box IIPENTECOST METHODIST CHURCH PRESENTS Seeking treasures in the community Pentacost MC placed great Pentacost MC took a proactive approach to bring the light of Christ to the importance in communities around the church. The church was eager to repeat the success seeking out the of their “Treasure Box” movement that was started in 2020 when members unreached living actively sought out migrant workers during the Christmas season to minster to around them them. Thus, Pentecost MC initiated “Treasure Box II” during last year’s Christmas through the in an effort to minister to their surrounding residential communities as well as annual Treasure those within the church itself through activities such as hosting meals at homes Box event or outside or simply getting unreached individuals out on day trips. Toa Payoh Methodist Church Have a meal on us programme Toa Payoh Methodist Church’s (TPMC) wrapped up yet another “Have A Meal On Us” (HAMOU) initiative during Christmas 2021 which was reported in the January 2022 issue of Methodist Message. Having sponsored thousands of meals from hawkers and eateries in their neighbourhood, TPMC has blessed stall owners whose businesses were hit hard by the pandemic, along with Toa Payoh residents in need of a meal and a helping hand. Earlier in 2021, the news of a COVID-19 cluster at Toa Payoh Bus Interchange also spurred on TPMC to extend HAMOU for bus captains, staff and stall owners of the interchange. This would not have been possible without the warm-hearted generosity of TPMC worshippers, who through Christ, gave beyond their targeted amount! Blessing the bus captains at Toa Payoh Interchange |14 METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022

Opinion ¢ Ps Ian Wong is the Youth & Young Adult Pastor at Kum Yan Methodist Church, where he’s been serving full time for the last 19 years. He and his wife Eeleen have been married for 11 years, and they are parents to four wonderful daughters aged one to nine. He is passionate about music and worship, and loves building community, investing in relationships and seeing people grow in freedom and purposeful living. / Photo courtesy of Ps Ian Wong Three ways to have a better Lunar New Year To the Chinese brothers and sisters in our Methodist Family, blessed Lunar New Year! F ood is often at the centre of our celebrations, Usually, no one knows how these things became the and many of us know the value of food norm. But what if these “default practices” were up hospitality. We will go to great lengths to make for us to change? What if all it took was for someone sure our guests and family members are well-fed, to be more intentional? and take great delight in their enjoyment of what we have prepared! In many families, food can even We can be the one to suggest new things that be considered a primary love language, sometimes promote interaction. Play Heads Up! (a mobile- even helping us “say” what we find hard to convey device-based charades game) with them! Bring in words. a board/card game (like Sequence, Singaporean Dream or even UNO!) that can bring generations As we prepare our homes for the coming family together. Pull some family members to help out in celebrations, it may be good to also ask the Father the kitchen and peel oranges for everyone. Take a what else He might want us to do to be bless our walk to the neighbourhood store with the kids to buy loved ones. Here are three ideas. ice creams or go to the playground. 1. Better culture Be that Uncle or Aunt they remember as the “generous one”, who really cared about them. Perhaps what you The culture of our families is made up of all our do this year will contribute to the new culture your values and practices. I have heard many young people extended family is going to have for years to come! complain about how boring visitations can be. After eating all the snacks and getting their angpaos, they 2. Better conversations find themselves just staring at their phones until the visit is over. Other times, the TV is on, and everyone is One of the most important elements of our family half-watching a holiday movie or some grand variety culture is how we talk to one another. A good show. Still others may be playing something, be it conversation is a combination of good listening and mahjong or a PS5. How many of us still have separate thoughtful responses, and it is how we engage and “adults” and “kids” tables? value people. |METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022 15

Three ways to have a better Lunar New Year I was once asked, “So when is it your turn?” in While all this can be fun and informative, they rarely reference to a relative who got married that year. I help us to show care, or know one another better. must have been in my late twenties or early thirties Can we listen better and be more thoughtful in our then, and had spent the last season learning to be responses? Here are some pointers that may help. happily and healthily single. While the question was not asked with malice, I must admit I was not amused. A. It is up to us to make a difference if I cheekily wondered what would happen if I asked we seize it that older relative the same question the next time we met at a funeral. I am old enough to know you may not see everyone again next year. Some might drift Funny (and inappropriate) as that thought was, I am away, others may move away and still others keenly aware that good conversations do not happen may pass away. We will never regret making by accident. Casual conversations that do not start the most of every opportunity to be wise (Eph with sensitivity and tact can often begin with careless 5:15–16), to show love, and build that deeper observations about a person’s weight, grooming, connection with our loved ones. dressing, singleness or presenting energy level for the day. Though well-meaning, these statements can B. Move from information to knowing be jarring, even hurtful. We certainly can hope for better. Start with specific questions about something someone does (job, CCA, course of study) I have also noticed many conversations revolve around and more towards why (Interest? Passion? our complaints (“wah the restrictions nowadays ah”) Obligation?) and how they are experiencing and our fantastic or funny stories (“wah do you know it (Fun? Tedious?). These are breadcrumbs for what I saw that day?”). We might even unknowingly us to follow, with the goal of finding out not retell the same stories year after year. what this person does, but who this person is. C. Beware of conversation stoppers To the younger ones Do not be afraid to engage an older person! You would be surprised how willing they are to find out more about you! Be a master at asking good questions that let them talk about their areas of expertise, and ask follow up questions to ask them to explain even technical or complicated things in layman’s language. Don’t forget one of the most powerful tools you have, which is to ask, “When you were my age, did you ever…?” Be bold to ask them questions not only about what they did, but what they learnt from those experiences. To the older ones Most young people are open to talking to older people. What they dread is to be made a captive audience of your stories or a student of your lectures. Because our culture tends to |16 METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022

defer to age, it takes double the effort and self-awareness for older people not to jump in with their opinions, or stories, or make general statements about younger people. If you can really listen, make a young person feel what they say matters and ask them insightful questions about what they share, chances are you might even learn something—or better, be given the privilege to hear the heart of this precious young person. D. Aim for a genuine heart connection Ps Ian Wong, his wife Eeleen, and their four beautiful daughters It is amazing what a little vulnerability can do Maybe one other way we can make Lunar New to spark a deeper conversation. We share not Year better is to make it better for someone else. only our victories, but also struggles, and give Someone who is painfully aware that—this year, this others permission to be real too. Our hearts season, this holiday—is not one they particularly feel can really connect, and we can show care, and like celebrating. For them, a text, a phone call or a even pray for one another. visit can help us become the blessing that God wants to bring them. I have personally seen how good conversations that can “add up” even if we are meeting only As believers, our mandate goes beyond comfort and once a year. Our intentionality, openness to celebration, and certainly beyond Lunar New Year. the Spirit’s leading and skill in conversations For some of us, meeting cousins outside of family can even result in a life changed (Jn 4). So, gatherings will be a big step. For others, being a let’s get ready for better conversations! peacemaker, or an intercessor for your family might be the hardest thing, but the most needed thing. 3. Better channels of God’s love In this year, my own extended family experienced Some of you who have read thus far might be both the devastation of a lost loved one, as well wondering: “My family is broken. We are not even on as the tear-filled reunion of relatives who have talking terms. How can we aim for anything like this?” not seen each other for decades. As the blaring Maybe these holidays are actually the hardest days speakers at our supermarkets welcome the arrival of the year, and a constant reminder of the hole in of the god of wealth, may we play our part in your hearts. I have talked to people who are from the welcoming the God who still does miracles, still “black sheep” of the family, shunned and not invited heals relationships and brings both comfort and to any family gatherings. I have seen conflicts over celebration into our homes this year. money or careless words and actions last for decades. I am reminded in these moments, that our Heavenly Father is close to the broken-hearted (Ps 34:18). He is one who is the Father to the fatherless, and the one who sets the lonely in families (Ps 68:5–6). He is also the God of all comfort (2 Cor 1:3–4), and the comfort we receive from Him in all our troubles can also be used to comfort others. |METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022 17

Opinion ¢ Christina Wong is the Managing Editor of, a local digital platform calling the next generation to step out in bold faith. The article was first published on and reproduced with permission. / Photo courtesy of Christina Wong Presenting HAMOU vouchers to SBS TransitLink A time for meaningful conversations L unar New Year, in the recent few years, has become I lived with regret for the months that followed. a season of poignant reflection for me. I replayed the last time I saw her over and over in my head. I regretted just sitting silently in one corner It was during Lunar New Year that I saw my grandmother during that visit. I regretted the many times my dad and grandfather for the last time, in 2011 and 2014, invited me along to visit her, and I turned him down. respectively. I regretted not being really present even though I was physically present. In my grandmother’s final years, she was really sick. My dad constantly nagged at me to visit her, but I chose You’d think that I probably would’ve learnt my lesson, but not to do so for selfish reasons (I can’t communicate sadly not. In Lunar New Year 2014, I saw my grandfather with her in her dialect anyway, We are not close for the last time. anyway, I am very busy preparing for exams anyway). Two months after I last saw her on  Lunar New Year, The second day of Lunar New Year also happens to fall 2011, she passed away from complications after a limb on his birthday on the Lunar Calendar, and on that day amputation procedure. each year we used to cook up a feast to honour him. |18 METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022

It is a day we used to put aside our differences and And had I known that it would be the last time I’ll ever intolerance towards each other, and sit down at the same see my grandfather, I would’ve sat with him or gone on a table together, as one big family. In  a family like mine walk with him. I would’ve asked him why he loved taking with its  strained relations, this was an occasion to be walks so much. I would’ve put in effort to have some treasured. meaningful conversations with him. The tradition went with my grandfather. It’s time to reclaim the significance of the season Instead of heading to visitations begrudgingly, and giving Nobody saw it coming. My late grandfather was always curt single-word answers to the unavoidable questions in the pink of health, and looked younger than his actual from our relatives, what if  we took the  effort to make age of 81. After my grandmother passed away, we all the season more meaningful for our families, or at least said we’d visit him more often, but months passed and for ourselves? we didn’t. Everyone was all too busy with our own lives. He was always healthy and independent, apart from Look around you. That cousin who is younger than you? his poor hearing, and that gave us an extra false sense You can probably give some advice on his studies. That of assurance. aunt who was recently widowed? You can ask her how she’s been doing. That high-flying cousin who seems to Then one night he was admitted to the hospital with  a have it all? You can ask her how she really feels about all high fever, and within the next 12 hours his condition these glittering accomplishments. That uncle who got deteriorated precipitously. And then he was gone forever. divorced? You can be his listening ear. The regret I felt was all too familiar. In the Old Testament times, priests were chosen to represent people before God and they were the only It’s time for meaningful conversations ones who could enter the presence of God. Now, we I think most of us can identify with the feeling of sitting are  called to be a royal priesthood that is set apart (1 around quietly on a family visit, staring at our phones Pet 2:9) for God. We are all priests of God in our own for a  few hours to shield ourselves from awkward ways. So, as mediators between God and pre-believers, conversations with relatives whom we don’t actually how can we represent God to the people around us this recognise. Lunar New Year? We head off to  relatives’ houses with the expectation Not everyone will appreciate our efforts to have that it’s going to be really boring and they’re just going meaningful conversations, but it’ll at least help to make to ask the same old questions again. We pay no attention this season more bearable, more purposeful. We can turn to what’s going on around us, and make no effort to have this annual snoozefest into an opportunity where we can conversations that are actually meaningful. minister to people we rarely get to meet. We start to see Lunar New Year as a season of dreary It’s time to wake up. It’s time for some meaningful family obligations to fulfil. This is especially sad for a conversations—before it’s too late. season of joy that’s meant to bring families together. You may only see this auntie or that cousin once a year on Lunar New Year. But how would you know if you’ll ever see them again? Had I known that it would be the last time I’d ever see my grandmother, I would’ve made an effort to have at least one meaningful conversation with her. I would’ve at least found out more about her—why she came to Singapore as a single mother, how she brought up my aunt on her own, what her dreams were as a young woman, how she met my grandfather… There were so many things I did not know about the matriarch of the family. |METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022 19


Opinion ¢ Adapted from an article from CAC News, first published in 2006 Lunar New Year: A Christian perspective T he Lunar New Year is the most important point on the Lunar calendar. The beginning of the lunar year has symbolised the act of starting over with renewed hopes for happiness and prosperity. It is also a time to renew ties with family and friends, through family reunion dinners and social visits. Chinese and many other Asian Christians continue to celebrate the New Year so as to maintain their ethnic identity. But while the celebration was traditionally marked by a religious ceremony in honour of Heaven and Earth, the household gods and ancestors, Chinese Christians will celebrate the event from the perspective of their faith in Christ. Christian interpretations have been given to many of the traditional symbols associated with Lunar New Year: House-cleaning: It is a good time for Christians to evaluate their lives in light of their commitment to Christ. Spring couplets:  The traditional practice of displaying couplets or pairs of auspicious characters at the doorways is reintroduced among Christians by putting up Christian messages. New clothes: This can be an opportunity for giving thanks for God’s abundant provisions (Rom 5:17). Feasting:  While over-indulging these few days, remember that our body is the “temple of the Holy Spirit”, so do not abuse it. Also remember the Christian virtue of hospitality, especially for those less fortunate. Oranges: Oranges are exchanged as a blessing for prosperity, because the Cantonese word for “orange” sounds like gold. Christians are reminded that gold also symbolises a genuine faith (1 Pet 1:7). Angpaos: As gifts are given both to those below and above us in status, it is good to remember those who have served us faithfully, and also the Lord, to whom ultimate respect is due (Ex 20:3). Ancestors:  While Chinese Christians will worship the one true God rather than their ancestors, that hardly means that they dishonour or neglect their family ancestors or even the ancestors of the faith. Scripture clearly calls us to respect those who came before us, and to honour our parents (Ex 20:12). LUNAR NEW YEAR PRAYER Almighty God, We thank You for the Lunar New Year celebrations. The annual family gatherings help us cement our family ties. We thank You for our family ancestors and spiritual ancestors.  Father, give us the boldness to witness to our family and friends as we meet them during this festive season. O God, help us to obey You in thoughts and in deeds, that we may please You in all our ways. In the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus, Amen. |METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022 21

Reach Out ¢ Welfare Services By the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) Communications Team / Photos and visuals courtesy of MWS LENT: Amidst a raging pandemic, will you step out of the boat? N atalie* was 11 years old when she lost her dad in 2014. Reeling from the pain of her loss, she fell into a dark place of grief and loneliness. “I was very close to my dad and when he passed away, I found myself all alone,” confided Natalie. But the reality that he was no longer around began to sink in only when Natalie entered secondary school. She soon fell into bad company, played truant and lost interest in studying. Her relationship with her family also deteriorated. “We hardly spoke and I stayed away from home a lot. Eventually, when I was 15, I was referred to MWS Girls’ Residence,” Natalie recalled. “Serving families for a decade and more...” 24-HR HOTLINES PAUL & DANIEL +65 8321 3355 TOLL-FREE 1800-777-2422 Amazing Grace has prepared these few measures to allow families to have a meaningful and dignified farewell for their loved ones: A. Online Ticketing Complimentary online ticketing system to allow visitors to reserve a visiting time slot and plan their visits, allowing families to keep within the regulated maximum number of persons at any one time with minimal coordination. B. Online Memorial allows friends to find updated information and offer their sympathies to bereaved families C. Live Streaming this option is available to enable friends and families to participate in the wake/vigil and funeral services online D. Donations families may appoint a PayNow account of a family member to receive donations. This will be posted on the online memorial. Christian Funeral Packages • International Repatriation • Pre-Planning Seminars

It took some time for Natalie to settle in and even then, she could not talk about her dad without breaking down. MWS social worker Subhashini Kunasagar patiently journeyed with Natalie and taught her to manage her emotions and grief. “Over time, I learnt to regulate myself whenever I felt like I was experiencing anxiety. In the midst of this, I had to manage the stress of preparing for my N-Level examinations. But the staff at the Residence created a safe environment for me, listened to me and made me feel supported,” shared Natalie. Besides working with Natalie, MWS also worked with her family on how they relate to her. Gradually, Natalie’s family began to better understand what was really going 24-HR HOTLINES on within her and changed how they PAUL & DANIEL communicate with her. “I was pleasantly +65 8321 3355 surprised when my family shared that they feel very “pSreorvuidngoffammileie.s Iforalasodecaapdpereacniadtme ore...” TOLL-FREE 1800-777-2422 Ohow they would, without fail, turn up each tRpiaemssetidsefoonraceltl.htehWejesoeinnmtevamedereeumtisnEneegdlaEryecsalotaheiocvlnslhwisyentiiwaoghtllinhafikftsepohit,pirasnayittsbseafttuenhhdlfrwdeeadoyerbsnri,niseI,Hfmhyiousepswaterifsslul,,;lafinllT,dhfeearGs;iving Methodist (TGM) takes place each Only one life, ‘twill soon be pyaeastr, to galvanise Methodists to show acts of kindness accepted,” said Natalie. Only what’s done for those in need. This year, amidst a raging pa-nCd.Te. mStiucd, dlet us take courage, step out and uplift those These days, Natalie will spend time with her family whenever she goes on home-leave, a who need help to ride out this storm. time of bonding she really cherishes. With the guidance of MWS and her family’s You can get involved by Giving Time through unwavering support, Natalie’s perseverance volunteering with MWS or a Methodist Church’s social ff. Today, she is working as concerns ministry, Giving A Donation, or Giving Voice profession Ofinally paid o al anndlyaosnpierelsifet,oa few brief yeartso, the disadvantaged and distressed by spreading a healthcare eNBrautoatnlitehtoewErfehaEinocaladhincvrOeehwliinnegiwgmldthyhitaftooohniuatnrysrtietsbseluidlffreado,yer‘stniw,nsIi,Hlmlhisousopswoteniftttslulhh,g;bleeafiemgnllpi,dwv@aifosnertmgad, mrswea; btsho.ousdtgis.tth.sigs . campaign.  Find out more on be a nurse one day. For enquiries, please contact more individuals like support as they soldi the end of the tunnel. Will you step Oonutlyowf hat’s done for Christ will last. the boat to show someone that support? TGM i-sC.Ts.pSetaudrhdeaded by The Methodist Church in Singapore and Methodist Welfare Services. *Not her real name |METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022 23

Reach Out ¢ Missions Dr Christopher Cheah is an Exco member of the Methodist Missions Society (MMS) and the Chairman of the MMS 30th Anniversary Taskforce. / Photos courtesy of MMS MMS 30th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service Col (Ret) Quek and Rev Derrick T he Methodist Missions Society (MMS) was established on 30 Lau welcoming the guests Sept 1991 as the missions agency of The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS). MMS’s 30th Anniversary last year served as an occasion for us to reflect on God’s faithfulness and blessings over the past three decades. It was also a call for us to focus on His Spirit at work among us today and provided an opportunity to look to Him to lead and direct us in the years to come. As part of MMS’s 30th Anniversary Celebration, a Thanksgiving Service was held at Faith Methodist Church on the first Sunday in Advent, 28 Nov 2021, to celebrate God’s faithfulness over the past 30 years. MMS Executive Director Rev Derrick Lau and Field Director Col (Ret) Quek Koh Eng warmly welcomed about 100 guests who gathered on site and another 100 online. Their welcome was followed by the talented Awaken Generation team ushering everyone into God’s presence with their melodious voices and Spirit-led worship. We were blessed by Awaken Generation’s spirit-led Praise and Worship |24 METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022

Bishop Dr Gordon Wong delivering his impactful message to serve silently MMS celebrating God’s faithfulness The Presidents and representatives of the three MCS national pastors, and leaders on the field. In addition, Annual Conferences then led congregrants in the there were almost 500 online views after the service. Litany of Mission and Prayers of Thanksgiving for God’s goodness and faithfulness to MMS over the years. After My deepest appreciation goes to all our speakers, MMS Chairman Mr Alvin Tan read the Scripture passage distinguished guests, pastors, leaders, volunteers, from Matthew 9:31–38, Bishop Dr Gordon Wong, with his intercessors, past and present MMS Executive Committee usual eloquence and yet down-to-earth manner, gave an and Sub-Committee Members, staff, missionaries, inspiring sermon entitled “Spreading the News?” Bishop friends, and family for joining us on the momentous Wong spoke about how we need to learn to spread the occasion. My heartfelt gratitude also goes to the MMS Good News of the Gospel “silently” as taught by our Lord Team and the Organising Team led by Grace Chung— Jesus, without losing its impact and importance. they worked tirelessly yet joyfully to put together a meaningful and memorable Thanksgiving Service. To We were moved by the video about the Little Candles God be the glory! Methodist School in Thailand as we saw how the teachers, despite limited resources, managed to touch the lives of the many children there. In his address, Rev Lau used the video and other examples to relate how MMS has impacted many lives in Cambodia, East Asia, Laos, Nepal, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam. He gave glory and honour to God for mobilising our local Methodist churches to pray, give and send missionaries and volunteers to these peoples and nations. Rev Lau encouraged all to continue to partner MMS in the years to come. Before the offering was taken, the Pastor-in-Charge of Rev Reuben Ng leading the Responsive Call to Worship Faith Methodist Church, Rev Reuben Ng, encouraged us to give generously to the Little Candles Methodist School project and the MMS General Fund. Daniel and Peixin from Grace Methodist Church rendered a special anthem in music and song during the offering time. At the close of the service, Bishop Wong gave the Benediction. COVID-19 restrictions may have limited the number of Dr Christopher Cheah giving thanks and acknowledging the love and people allowed to celebrate on site at Faith Methodist support of everyone for the past 30 years Church, but they did not stop the many who participated online, including the President of The Methodist Church |METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022 25 in Cambodia, Rev Lun Sophy, and many missionaries,

Relationships ¢ You & your family Benny Bong has been a family and marital therapist for more than 30 years, and is a certified work-life consultant. He was the first recipient of the AWARE Hero Award, received in 2011, and is a member of Kampong Kapor Methodist Church. Hope A recent invitation to be a panel speaker in a relationships, does not happen overnight. Hope then webinar on “hope” led me to mull over this is vital to sustain the change process. As we cling on multi-faceted subject. Here, I shall consider the to hope, we are willing to make sacrifices now for importance of hope in relationships that matter to us. future gain.  Before going on, allow me to define hope as a What can get in the way of hope? One reason may be feeling of expectation, a desire with an anticipation past experiences of repeated failures, disappointments that something better is possible.  As I see it, three or criticism. A mother I spoke to kept repeating: “I am elements must exist for hope to be present. not a good mother. I have failed my children.” So fixated was she on this that she felt incapable of working at a Firstly, there must be dissatisfaction with one’s current better relationship with her children and unworthy of state as well as a desire for and a vision of a better getting another chance at all. state of affairs. Thus, if one has a strained relationship with another but is not bothered by it, there will be no Another obstacle may stem from a perceived lack of desire to try to improve things. attributes or abilities to start or sustain the effort of change. However, it is not so much about having all The second element is the possibility for things to the competencies and qualifications to begin with but change. For instance, a broken relationship may be about willingness to work on attaining them. After all, impossible to repair because all contact with the other hope focuses not on the past but the future; not only on party has been lost or that individual is deceased. what has been or what is but what can be. There is then no hope for improvement.  As believers, we can hold fast to the hope that The third element is one’s ability to attempt to effect God loves us and will not give up on us despite our some change. When a break in a relationship occurs, unworthiness. We have hope not because of who change is likely if there is awareness of what can be we are and what we have but because of Who He done to make amends, or if some common interest can is, and He is more than capable to do all that He serve as a reason for reconciliation. In working with wants to see in us. He  is able and willing to help family members in conflict with each other, I sometimes us surmount our present difficulties, the COVID-19 look for a common glue that may bring together the pandemic included. fractious parties. It could be a mutual concern to care for an ailing parent or a forgotten shared felt history As COVID-19 takes away things we are familiar with of hard times they went through together. and we once thought were essential, we begin to appreciate the things that matter. One of these is When these three elements exist, hope then becomes our connection with others and the relationships a spark for change. Although it often does not in that count. May we stand firm on the hope that our itself lead to change, hope can ignite the change cherished relationships will weather the storms and process. Change, especially in the context of troubled stresses of this time.  |26 METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022

Hymns & Songs ¢ Justin Chan is a Programme Executive at Methodist School of Music, Worship & Worship Department. As a reformed rock musician, he believes hymns and heavy metal can co-exist for the glory of God. The Blessing By the time this is published, Lunar New Year celebrations would be over, The Methodist School of Music (MSM) and some of us who do participate in it will be in “recovery mode”, fresh equips and edifies both the individual and the from the hectic festivities of shuttling to and from our extended families’ church through music and the performing arts. homes. Some families are very strict about their traditions: the order in which you greet the elders, their honorifics (and there are numerous!), who should be Find out more at in attendance at which evening meal during the 15 days, amongst many others. The Blessing Why this fixation on tradition? In part, the family is a vehicle through which identity is preserved. Our Christian brothers from the Orthodox tradition will go The Lord bless you and keep you, make his face so far as to say that family is the “little church” through which the sacramental shine upon you, and be gracious to you realities are passed on to the next generation. A clear example of this is the Seder The Lord turn his face toward you Meal, celebrated at the Passover by Jewish families (including Messianic Jews), and give you peace which includes participation from both parents and children. An excerpt of the liturgy is as follows, where the youngest child is assigned to ask questions. Amen, amen, amen Child: Why is this night different from all other nights? May his favor be upon you and a thousand Parent: Because we were once slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought generations us out with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Child: On this night, why do we eat only unleavened bread? And your family and your children, Parent: Biblical tradition says that the people had to leave Egypt so quickly that and their children, and their children they did not have time to let the bread rise. So they made dough without yeast. May his presence go before you and behind you While there are difficulties finding complete analogues in our Methodist and beside you all around you tradition, it doesn’t stop us from establishing simple patterns of worship in our family life. Setting aside a short time for a simple song, reading the Bible And within you, He is with you, He is with you together and prayer need not be a scholarly or clerical enterprise. In the morning, in the evening, in your coming One such song that captures the spirit of family worship is Elevation Worship’s “The and your going Blessing”, based on the Aaronic Blessing of Numbers 6:24–26. The songwriters have envisioned this song to be sung declaratively as an affirmation of biblical In your weeping and rejoicing, He is for you, truth: that God will bless us, keep us, show favour towards us and grant us grace He is for you and peace for a thousand generations as His children. There is a prayerful appeal that we will become more sensitive to God’s presence that exists everywhere, We are the hope on earth including the Holy Spirit indwelling within us, and that we will understand God is for us no matter the time of day, location or personal scenario. If there is CCLI Song # 7147007 discomfort as to the song’s directionality (e.g. is it the worship leader blessing the Chris Brown | Cody Carnes | Kari Jobe | Steven Furtick congregation?), the songwriters have stated that the lyrics stem from the heart of Scripture and should be understood as God blessing us as we sing to one another. © 2020 Capitol CMG Paragon (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) Just as Lunar New Year traditions reinforce my identity as an ethnic Chinese, the disciplined patterns of worship, prayer and reflection as people living in Kari Jobe Carnes Music the presence of God help reinforce my family’s identity as children of God. (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) Indeed, as we establish worshipful identities, may God’s favour be upon us, as the song says, “for a thousand generations”. Worship Together Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) Writer’s Roof Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) Music by Elevation Worship Publishing (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC) |METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022 27

Opinion ¢ Soundings Dr Roland Chia is Chew Hock Hin Professor of Christian Doctrine at Trinity Theological College and Theological and Research Advisor at the Ethos Institute for Public Christianity ( On saving the family “Soundings” is a series of essays that, like the waves of a sonogram, explore issues in society, culture and the church in light of the Gospel and Christian understanding. O ne of the most worrying developments that we witness in the West and also in some affluent countries in Asia is the evolution of marriage and the family. There is a notable decline in the traditional family, even as avant garde arrangements emerge and rise in prevalence. One of these trends is the exponential rise in the number of single-parent families. A 2019 Pew Research Centre study showed that “almost a quarter of U.S. children under the age of 18 live with one parent and no other adults (23%)”.1

Another development is the rise in the number of The ease with which the marital union can be dissolved couples who choose cohabitation over marriage. In in modern society has also contributed to the erosion 2005, the U.S. Census Bureau reported 4.85 million of the institution of marriage, which in turn will have cohabiting couples, an increase of a whopping 1,000 adverse consequences for the family. Legislations that percent from 1960!2 make divorce swift and easy such as no-fault divorce (known also as no-reason and amicable divorce) are In some countries, the legalisation of same-sex examples of how the law can shape public attitudes marriage and the practice of no-fault divorce have also towards marriage and the family. contributed to the erosion of the traditional family. Other contributing factors include certain laws on adoption The role of Christian families in a society where (such as adoption by singles or by homosexuals), this important institution is crumbling cannot be surrogacy, abortion and social egg freezing. exaggerated. As salt of the earth and light of the world, the Christian family can truly be counter-cultural by These trends are worrying because they are displaying the beauty of marriage and family as God disassembling one of the most important institutions in had intended it. human society and culture. But in order to do this, Christian marriages and families From time immemorial the traditional family is the must resist the cultural trends that are sweeping bedrock of society, the basic cell of human community. societies across the world. They must conform to the This important truth is eloquently articulated in the pattern that is ordained by God (Gen 1 and 2). Each Apostolic Exhortation of the late Pope John Paul II on of its members must embrace his or her respective the role of the Christian family in the modern world obligations and responsibilities, as a husband and a (Familiaris Consortio): wife (e.g. Eph 5:25–33) and a parent and a child (e.g. Eph 6:1–4). The family has vital and organic links with society, since it is its foundation and nourishes it continually Ideally, all the members of the family should be committed through its role of service to life: it is from the to Christ and to his service. It is in this vein that the family that citizens come to birth and it is within Orthodox Church has delightfully portrayed the Christian the family that they find the first school of the family as a “small church”, all of whose members are social virtues that are the animating principles of living according to God’s will and for his glory. the existence and development of society itself.3 The Christian family therefore participates in the mission For the Christian, the family is not a malleable man- of the Church in proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ made arrangement that can be altered according to and in displaying the beauty of God’s plan for humankind. the dictates of the prevailing culture. The family was It does this in the hope that it may prevent modern society instituted by God, created by him for the benefit of and culture from becoming the tragic victim of the very human beings and the flourishing of society. perversions it has created. The basic biblical family unit comprises a man and a 1 woman—united in the sacred covenant of marriage— children-more-likely-than-children-in-other-countries-to-live-with- and their offspring or adopted children. The extended just-one-parent. family includes relatives by blood or marriage such as 2 Social Science, LibreTexts, “12.4A: The Decline of the Traditional grandparents, nephews, nieces, cousins, aunts and uncles. Family”, Introduction_to_Sociology/Book%3A_Sociology_(Boundless)/12%3A_ Marriage is the foundation of the family. The modern Family/12.04%3A_Recent_Changes_in_Family_Structure/12.4A%3A_ or postmodern dismantling of the traditional family The_Decline_of_the_Traditional_Family. often begins with the dissolution of the institution 3 Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio of marriage as a union between one man and one (November 22, 1981), woman—an obvious example being same-sex marriage. ii/en/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_19811122_ familiaris-consortio html. |METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022 29

THINK ¢ Sheri Goh is the Editor of Methodist Message. Confessions of a LNY Scrooge I used to call myself the Scrooge of the Lunar New angpows to children I barely knew, much against the Year. The Lunar New Year was, to me, an introvert’s spirit of “it is more blessed to give than to receive nightmare—it was too loud, too colourful, too (Acts 20:35)”. crowded. There was too much food and so much waste. I “Bah! Humbug!”-ed from the time the festive My family is not very traditionally Chinese. The music began playing in malls (usually the day after traditions of the festival that are linked to good fortune Christmas) until the 15 days were over. such as red and gold decorations, and the cleaning and sweeping away of bad luck, as well as the emphasis Large gatherings with distant relatives I met only on astrology and the accumulation of wealth, are once a year stressed me out. When I first got married accoutrements the Christian side of my family does not and finances were lean, I resented having to give believe in. We believe in God, not in luck.

That said, the traditions my family does celebrate during Another family I miss is my church family. I have come the Lunar New Year are linked to the idea of reunion. to realise that the annual church family camp is, in My mom comes from a large family; she is the eldest fact, a “church family” camp—with the luxury of more of eight siblings. My grandparents used to have their time to spend together as members of the family of married children and families back for dinner every God. Worshipping online, having discipleship group Sunday evening. Even though my grandparents have meetings and Sunday School on Zoom, have been useful long passed on, a core group of my mother’s siblings, stand-ins, but virtual meetings cannot replace face-to- along with their children and grandchildren, have face fellowship and heart-to-heart conversations. continued the tradition by hosting the weekly family dinner—that is, until COVID-19 struck. There is a saying that we know the value of water only when the well runs dry. Some of us have lost friends The best part of the Lunar New Year has always been, for and family over the last two years and were unable me, the family meal. After our regular Sunday dinners, to bid farewell to them in person. In June last year, we usually have to rush off because the next day is a my father lost his best friend to a brain tumour; he work or school day. But on the first day of the Lunar was able to visit only once before his friend passed. New Year, we can linger as long as we like. We all probably also have loved ones overseas whom we cannot visit. We meet at my mom’s family home, the site of those long-ago dinners when my grandparents were Will life ever return to a pre-pandemic “normal”? I still around, and take an annual family portrait. It pray it will, and soon! But there’s no knowing when— is wonderful to see how the family has added new or if—that will ever happen. Rather than waiting for members over the years, even as some have gone to the day when larger-scale gatherings are allowed, I glory. My grandparents would be proud. realise I have to intentionally meet up in small groups with extended family and friends I have not seen in a COVID-19 has caused me to reflect more on my idea of while. My hope, for my family—immediate, extended family. One of the things I miss most, and realise I have and church—is that we do not wait to realise how taken for granted, is our weekly family dinner tradition precious our relationships are, and will do what it that we have had to put on hold due to government- takes to show we cherish them. mandated safe management measures. My cousins, whom I met every Sunday in pre-pandemic days, have had babies whom I have barely seen. Even when we meet in church, we cannot linger to talk and catch up. What I am thankful for, though, is that over the last two years, my husband, two daughters—one of whom is 14 and the other is six—and I have grown much closer. We have had to stay home much more, in close quarters— including serving out a 10-day quarantine together—so have been forced to be more tolerant and patient with one another. My husband used to travel extensively for work, but has not since January 2020. We have found more activities to do together, such as taking skating lessons as a family, and have discovered parts of Singapore that we had not been to before. |METHODIST MESSAGE — February 2022 31

Poems ¢ Leong Kwok Thye is a member of Kampong Kapor Methodist Church and has been involved in the ministries of Scripture Union, the Bible Study Fellowship and the pastoral care programme of Anglo-Chinese School (Primary) and Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road). Seeking God Seek the Lord while he may be found, Call on him when he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to God for he will freely pardon. Isa 55:6–7 We seek God, he is missing! He has not been hiding, Our evil thoughts and ways, Have shielded us from his face. When we forsake wickedness, To seek him in his holiness. The in mercy he will forgive, And show us how to live. For his thoughts are better, And his ways are higher. He gives blessing abundance, To those who heed his guidance. He makes the rain and snow, Water the plants to grow. Hence when wickedness cease, He will bless us with his peace. MCS Careers ¢ Join our team The MCS Communications department is looking for a DIGITAL MEDIA STRATEGIST  Do you love connecting with people, have lots of creative ideas, and want to help to tell stories of Methodists and Christians in Singapore?  Can you plan and create digital content for a wide audience?  Are you able to help Methodist Message go digital?  Can you create videos and podcasts?  Are you familiar with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)? Check out details for this job opportunity at or scan the QR code >> ABOUT MCS The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) is a connectional church comprising the General Conference, three Annual Conferences, local churches, and various agencies and organisations. The General Conference (GC) is the highest body of the MCS, responsible for legislation, policy, and the overseeing of its various agencies, including the programme agencies responsible for education, missions, and welfare services. w w w. m e t h o d i s t . o r g . s g

People ¢ Pastor Jeremy Yap is an Assistant Pastor at Aldersgate Methodist Church. What does being a Methodist mean to you? B eing a Methodist means I have been adopted and connected to a large and loving family of God. While I was brought up a Christian, I was not brought up a Methodist. It was after I met my wife that I decided to sink roots in her home church, a Methodist church. When God called me to full time pastoral ministry, the church supported me wholeheartedly and invested in me and in my studies at Trinity Theological College. What struck me about Methodist connectionalism was that the local church supported me knowing that if I applied to the pastoral ministry, it might mean that I would be eventually sent out to serve in the Trinity Annual Conference and that I may not return to serve the local church. It was during this time that I truly understood what it meant to serve the larger body of Christ as The Methodist Church in Singapore. I experienced generosity that gave without asking for anything in return except that I fulfil my calling in the Lord. I am truly blessed by my Methodist family. Ps Jeremy Yap, his wife Lydia Being Methodist to means to me experience and show to others this and their three children. radical love of Jesus, to give of our money, time and ourselves without expectation of reciprocity, because we are in a large family of God. I really enjoy the times when local churches come together, be they at our Annual Conferences or at events where we see members of different churches work to serve and reach out together. This Christian unity paints a beautiful picture of the family of God.

Looking Ahead ¢ Scan to see events online! February THE GIVING METHODIST 2022: STEP OUT OF THE BOAT Give Donation and Give Voice campaign from Feb to Oct 2022 / Give Time Campaign from 2 Mar to 14 Apr during Lent season [email protected] Spearheaded by The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) and Methodist Welfare Services (MWS), The Giving Methodist takes place each year to galvanise Methodists to show acts of kindness and love to those in need. With the COVID-19 pandemic raging on, let us take courage to step out of our boat and uplift those who need help to ride out this storm. You can join in by “Giving Time” through volunteering with MWS or a Methodist Church’s social concerns ministry, “Giving A Donation”, or “Giving Voice” to the disadvantaged and distressed by spreading the word about this campaign.  Stay tuned for more information on The Giving Methodist 2022. Organised by Methodist Welfare Services February COMPANIONS IN CHRIST: SMALL GROUP EXPERIENCE IN SPIRITUAL FORMATION starting 11 Feb 2022 (every Friday over eight months), 7.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. Online via Zoom or onsite at Wesley MC subject to prevailing safe management measures. Register at Slots will be on a first-come-first-served basis. For more information, please email Felicia Ong at [email protected] $30 per head, inclusive of course materials CIC is about a small group of people committed to deepening their relationship with God. The sessions will see participants learning about prayer, scripture and discernment, and about keeping a personal journal of their learning and reflections. The small group meets weekly to support one another and share life journeys authentically without fear of being judged. Organised by Wesley Methodist Church Discipleship and Nurture ministry March SING THE WORD 14, 16, 18–19 Mar 2022, 10.30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Onsite at Methodist School of Music premises subject to prevailing safe management measures. Register at Registration closes 11 Mar. $30 per child. Class sizes will be capped at 15. Registration will be on a first-come-first-serve basis Thinking of how to occupy the kids during the March holidays? Look no further! MSM has planned “Sing the Word”, a chamber singing camp for 10- to 12-year-olds. Spend the March holidays having fun, enjoying music, and learning singing skills all at the same time! Organised by Methodist School of Music July D6 FAMILY CONFERENCE 2022: RECALIBRATE 29 and 30 Jul 2022 (Friday and Saturday), 9.30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. Online via Zoom. Register at Early bird price at $50 per head (until 13 Jun 2022). Thereafter $60 per head. Registration closes 17 Jul 2022. Join this year’s line-up of speakers as they share D6 principles, strategies and best practices on generational discipleship and Family Ministry. Embark on a journey where you will learn to identify and establish healthy practices, and to honour God in the way you lead the families in your church. Organised by SOWER Institute for Biblical Discipleship

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