BY REV DAVID LEE
"Enlarge the place of your tent,
and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
and strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,
and your offspring will possess the nations
and will people the desolate cities." (Isa 54:2-3, ESV)
Through the Prophet Isaiah, the Lord promised to bring restoration to Israel after her exile in Babylon - Israel’s desolate cities would once again be populated; she would again be great, spreading her influence abroad, possessing the nations. But the people of Israel were not to wait idly for that glorious day to arrive. They were to get ready now! They were to strengthen the stakes, lengthen the tent cords, and stretch forth the curtains of their habitations in anticipation of the great in-gathering of God’s people.
The words of the prophet resonated in my heart as I sought the Lord for the direction ahead. In particular, the words “strengthen”, “stretched”, and “spread” caught my attention. I believe they mark out three key phases in COR’s journey towards our 50th Anniversary.
STRENGTHEN To withstand the tension of the stretched cords and tent curtains, the stakes need to be driven deeper. In the same way, to prepare for what is to come, the Lord will first strengthen
our foundations. Individually, we will be challenged to review our personal commitments to the Lord and to step out of our comfort zone. Corporately, old structures may need to be
replaced to sustain robust growth. Church culture needs to be redefined and reshaped to encourage authentic relationships and loving service to one another as we build up our common life.
STRETCHED Surely this life of Christ cannot be contained within the walls of the church but will overflow as winsome witness into the community. Indeed, we are called to be the salt and light of the world, to proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvellous
light. In this next phase, our tent curtains will be stretched, as we extend our influence beyond the walls of the church. I envision members of COR taking up their stations in the public square and marketplace. I see each one, armed with a keen sense of vocation, making a significant contribution to Singapore as we seek the welfare of our city. In the heartlands, I see each family in COR bearing witness to the transformative love of Christ through loving
relationships between husband and wife, between parents and children and between grandparents and grandchildren. I see COR reaching out to our community, especially in
our parish of Potong Pasir, Toa Payoh and Bidadari, serving the needy and neglected in our midst, building an inclusive society.
SPREAD A church that overflows with the love of God and bearing effective witness in the community is one that is worth multiplying. Under the leadership of Canon James Wong, COR started as
a church plant by Church of the Good Shepherd. Church-planting was in our DNA from the very beginning. In its first 20 years as a church, COR planted five of the twenty-seven parishes in the Diocese of Singapore, as well as two extension centres. Over the last two decades, the church-planting effort ceased. But I believe God’s calling for us has not changed. COR will start planting churches infused with our DNA once again, both locally and overseas.
As we celebrate our 40th Anniversary this year, I can see that the strengthening has begun on various levels. Structurally, the church office has been reorganised to provide greater support to the staff and encourage greater collaboration within the team.
An additional layer of leadership has been introduced to what used to be a flat structure. Reverend Ian Chew now leads our youth ministries and chaplaincy works to St Andrew’s Junior College, St Andrew’s Hall and the 26th Company of The Singapore Boys Brigade. We are already seeing fruits in our outreach to the next generation from the synergy these ministries have generated. Pastor Loke Chi Shyan now provides leadership to the pastoral staff in both English Congregations (Saturday Praise Service and Sunday Worship Service). The team is benefitting greatly from his wisdom and experience as a seasoned pastor. The
rest of the staff form the corporate services team led by myself. With this new office structure, we are positioning ourselves for dynamic growth.
The cell groups in SWS have also been organised into pastorates. Grouped in similar life stages and led by more experienced lay leaders and staff, the pastorates provide the much needed support to our cell leaders and facilitate inter-cell interaction.
We are also looking into our infrastructure such as optimising our existing office space, building a fellowship hall, creating a cry room for nursing mothers within the sanctuary and making our facilities more elderly-friendly.
But more important than the structural and the hardware is the heartware. I see God working in different ways here. The Celebration of Hope evangelistic rally this year has encouraged the Church in Singapore to press on in our gospel proclamation. Many in COR are feeling the burden to preach the gospel especially to our aged parents and our family members. This August, SPS held an evangelistic service for our family members involving every generation in the congregation. I also see members in SWS introducing their friends to our church community. In October, our children invited many friends to a special outreach on Children’s Day. Our youths in Mustard Seed Service will also be holding a special outreach service for their friends in November.
This year end, COR will be jointly organising a Christmas carnival and concert with the Citizen Consultative Council of Potong Pasir. This will be the first year since our relocation that the English congregation is stepping out into the heartland in Potong Pasir. More than just strengthening the kampung spirit in this community through the fun and cheer of the carnival, we will be sharing the Christmas message through songs, skits and other forms of presentations. More than half the church has signed up as helpers for this event!
But what is most exciting for me this year is a new culture that is taking shape in COR. The series of conversations amongst members and leaders saw some deep and open sharing across all congregations and generations. Participants called the church to a deeper commitment to our common life. A common theme that surfaced in the conversations was to make COR an inter-generational, cross-congregational and inclusive community. I believe that any walls that divide us are beginning to crumble.
So as we draw our 40th Anniversary celebration to a close, let us be inspired by the words of the Prophet Isaiah. Let us hold on to the promise of God as we see the Lord strengthening, stretching and finally spreading our influence far and wide for His glory. Up and on towards our 50th Anniversary.
坚固，张大，开展 李炳煌牧师 “要扩张你帐幕之地，张大你居所的幔子，
我们在原有的平面结构上增加了多一层的领导人。Reverend Ian Chew 会带领我们的青少年事工，以及担任圣安德烈初院、圣安德烈宿舍、 新加坡基督少年軍第二十六分队的牧师。通过协同办理这些事工，我们在下一代的外展活动中已开始结出果子 Pastor Loke Chi Shyan 会领导两个英语堂会（周六成青敬拜聚会和主日聚会）的牧者。这群牧师们从这位资深传道的智
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.