BY REV. DAVID LEE
"Forty" is a significant number in the Bible, which often means completeness or fullness of time. For example, Jesus was tempted for 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness; it rained for 40 days and 40 nights during the Flood; the Children of Israel spent 40 years in the wilderness before entering the Promised Land. So as Chapel of the Resurrection (COR)
celebrates our 40th Anniversary, we recognise that this is a significant moment in the history of our parish.
The theme for our celebration "Many Stories, One Destiny" reminds us that God has assembled individuals and families from different walks of life in this church community over the last 40 years. Each of us has a story to tell - a story of God’s grace and mercy; of how God has led us to this church and why we have called it “home”; of how this family has been a blessing to us and how we now hope to bless others. There is much to reflect on, not just individually but as a parish - Why has God founded COR? How has God shaped us? What are our hopes and aspirations in Christ? As we tell our stories as a community, let us listen for the voice of God as He leads the way forward. Many streams have now converged into a mighty river; whither will it flow?
Our founding Vicar, Canon James Wong was a man beyond his time. While still pastoring the English Congregation of the Church of the Good Shepherd, he received a vision from God - as a ship (which he understood to be the Church) was being serviced in a dry dock, the water level rose, the chain broke and the ship sailed out. "The Church must sail out into the heartlands to share the gospel!" he thought. Inspired by this vision, Canon Wong founded 5 parishes and 2 extension centres.
It was also during his tenure that local outreaches like the chaplaincy ministry in St Andrew’s Junior College, Sonshine Childcare Centre, Pasir Ris Family Service Centre and Commonwealth Student Care Centre were started. Innovative ways of sharing the Gospel through public performances took place in Orchard Road. Many will also remember fondly the Festival of Praise, where thousands of Christians from different church traditions gathered to worship the Lord as one people. Under his leadership, COR was at the forefront of many such initiatives.
After Canon Wong, came Canon John Benson. Under his leadership, COR developed processes for better governance and to ensure that the ministry and mission of the parish
were carried out in a sustainable manner. He was also given the mammoth task of relocating the parish from Malan Road to our present site in the Diocesan Centre Building at Francis Thomas Drive. Ever sensitive to the guidance of the Spirit, it was Canon Benson who crafted the vision and mission statements with the church leaders after much prayer and paying great attention to scriptures and the various prophecies spoken over COR.
Following Canon Benson’s retirement in 2007, Rev. Daniel Tong stepped into COR during a time of great pastoral need - a group of young adults had left one of our fledging young adult congregations, leaving behind a small number of worshippers. At the same time, many of the youths had grown up into adulthood but had remained with the youth ministry. Rev. Tong made the hard decision of introducing a necessary change. He brought these 2 groups of young adults together and formed Saturday Praise Service (SPS). The youth ministry was then renamed Mustard Seed Service (MSS). We praise God that SPS has grown to become a thriving congregation and has just celebrated its 10th Anniversary. Our youths have also found in MSS a community in which to grow and develop spiritually. Under Rev. Tong’s guidance and encouragement, the Creative Arts Ministry in COR also flourished.
In 2016, Bishop Kuan Kim Seng assumed the vicarship of the parish. His passion for world evangelisation was contagious and inspiring. A man of foresight and spiritual insight, Bishop Kuan mobilised COR in several strategic fronts of church missions, particularly the work amongst unreached in the region. It was also during his tenure that our first missionary family was sent out.
We want to honour all our vicars, clergymen and the different staff teams who have served under them. We thank God for the solid foundation they laid in COR in the past 40 years. Of course, we must not forget the laity. In my short one and a half year here, I have witnessed retirees availing their time to help in our childcare centre and doing missions both locally and abroad. Younger members are stepping up to serve and lead. Even the youths are coming alongside our little ones by serving in the children’s camp, engaging and encouraging them as older brothers and sisters. May this zeal for the Lord across the generations be a distinctive trait in COR for many years to come.
Indeed, as we celebrate our 40th Anniversary, many such stories will encourage and inspire us. But let us not rest on our laurels. Rather, let us lay hold of the destiny that lies before us, affirming our identity in Christ and embracing our calling as a church. Potong Pasir, which means "cut sand" in Malay, was dominated by sand quarries in the past. During times of torrential rainfall, the area would become flooded, residents would flee to Woodsville Hill to seek refuge in St Andrew’s School and the church. Today, the residents no longer need to run up Woodsville Hill to escape the flood. Instead, the time has come for us to run down the hill to the residents in Potong Pasir to make Christ known through loving service to the community. I thank God for the pastors from the Chinese congregations of the three Anglican churches in St Andrew’s Village. Under the banner of St Andrew’s Village Community Projects (SAVCPs), they have been serving in the Potong Pasir estate for the past 11 years. In the days to come, we hope to join them in their labour. Lastly, 2019 is the Year of Proclamation for the Church in Singapore. We have been mobilised to share our hope in Jesus with our nation. It is not a coincidence that this historic event is taking place as COR celebrates our 40th anniversary. At the start of this new phase of our journey, God is reminding us of the mission He has entrusted us – to bear witness to Christ’s love, to save souls, to seek the welfare of our city.
Chapel of the Resurrection, we are living at the threshold of a new era. As we wait upon the Holy Spirit, may the Lord lead us onward to fulfil our glorious destiny in Christ Jesus.
这次庆典的主题－“不同人生，同一命定” ，提醒我们神在过去四十年把来自不同背景的个人与家庭聚集在教会这个大家庭里。我们每个人以不同的故事，来为神的恩典和怜悯作见证；见证神如何把我们带到这个我们称之为“家”的教会，同时也见证这个家是如何成为我们的祝福，以致于我们也希望祝福家庭中的其他人。 作为一个牧区，我们不禁要反思神为什么创立复堂？神在这四十年里如何塑造我们？我们在基督里抱着什么盼望和理想？当我们述说各自的故事时，我们也来倾听主的声音，辨识祂引领的方向。众溪成河，滚滚河水，流向何方?
创堂牧政黄锐觉法政牧师是一个时代的先驱。当他在善牧堂英文部牧养的时候，黄牧正从神领受一个异象－一膄船正在码头进行维修（他领悟到船代表了教会），海水涨潮了，系着船的锁链骤然断开，船随之起航。受到异象的启发他设立了五个新牧区和两个扩展中心。因此，在他的代领下，我们开始了对内的外展计划，就是派特委牧师[YSL1] 到圣安德烈初级学院, 子光托儿所, 巴西利家庭服务中心，以及联邦道学生托管中心。我们也在乌节路通过公开演出的方式进行富创意的宣教活动。而全国性的大公聚会 “敬拜赞美节庆” 更是令人津津乐道，成千上万来自不同教会背景的会众同心敬拜主。在黄锐觉法政牧师 的带领下，复活堂开启了许多以上所论及的事工。
接任他的牧师是 John Benson 法政牧师。他在任期内订下良好的管理制度，确保牧区的事工持续不懈。他也接下了一个艰巨的任务，就是把教会从马兰路，搬迁到目前波东巴西的地点。John Benson法政牧师受圣灵的引领，同教会领袖在不住的祷告、查经、聆听先知性的话语下，起草了教会的远景和使命宣言。
John Benson 法政牧师于2007年退休，唐位华牧师 。 当时，正逢教会在牧养上面对极大的挑战之时，一群成青信徒离开了刚起步的周六成青敬拜团契，结果只留下一小群的会众。与此同时，青年部有不少青年正步入成年，但他们仍留在青年部。唐牧师必须为改革做出艰难的决定，他将两组成青会众合并，成立Saturday Praise Service (SPS)周六成青敬拜聚会，其余的青少年组成Mustard Seed Service (MSS)芥菜种子聚会。目前，SPS刚庆祝十周岁，我们为SPS 的茁壮成长感谢主。我们的青少年的灵命也在MSS里不断成长。在唐牧师的指导和鼓励下，创意美术事工(Creative Arts Ministries)也开花结果。
波东巴西，马来语的意思是“切沙”，这里过去都是沙矿。每逢雨季就会淹水，居民都会涌到山丘上避灾。圣安德烈小学和教堂就成了他们的避难所。今天，居民已不需要再跑到山上避难，相反的，我们现在要下山，以爱心向波东巴西的居民传讲基督的福音。我为着圣安德烈村的三所圣公会教堂的中文部牧师感谢主。他们在过去的十一年里，打着圣安德烈村社区服务计划 (SAVCPs) 的旗号，在波东巴西辛勤栽种。在接下来的日子，我们期待参与他们的服侍。
我们要全体总动员，向全国分享我们在基督里的盼望。这历史性的活动与复活堂庆祝40周年同时间进行，并不是偶然的事。在我们开始新的里程碑，上帝似乎在提醒我们，祂所托付于我们的使命 - 见证基督的爱，强救灵魂，服务社群。
REV. DAVID is married to Veronica and they have two lovely daughters, Alethea and Clara. He is currently serving as the Vicar of Chapel of the Resurrection.
This article first appeared in Issue 19, April 2019 CHORUS Magazine.