Wesley Methodist Church celebrates its 136th anniversary
This article is also published in Wesley TIDINGS, March 2021.
Wesley Methodist Church celebrated its 136th anniversary with a special Sunday combined Worship Service on 21 February 2021. Bishop Gordon Wong was the guest speaker to deliver the anniversary sermon.
The service was a milestone in Wesley’s history as it was the first time the respective services from both the hall and sanctuary were integrated on-site, and streamed on-line to those who worshipped at home.
After going through a challenging year in 2020 since the pandemic started, the 136th anniversary has given Wesleyans even more reasons to come together to celebrate this joyous occasion on this God appointed day. The gift of technology from God has also enabled all Wesleyans from both the sanctuary and hall on-site and on-line at home, to come together to worship as one family of Christ.
An Obedient Church for Over A Century
Before the service commenced, everyone was treated to a montage that gave us a glimpse of how far we have come together as a Church since its days of yore.
For many Wesleyans, the montage presentation brought to mind Wesley’s heritage as the first Methodist Church in Singapore.
For over a century, Wesley is an obedient Church that disciples many; a faithful Church that brought the gospel to many in our midst and the region; a resilient Church that has overcome challenging circumstances; and a compassionate and relevant Church that has been helping our community with many acts of kindness.
The montage also reminded us while Wesley may have started from very humble beginnings, it has emerged as a Church that is a light on the hill that has brought together a large faith community in Singapore over the years.
The service commenced with an opening prayer and remarks by our Pastor-in-Charge Raymond Fong as he prepared us to worship the Lord.
Thanking the Lord for seeing us through another year, Pastor Raymond was also “humbled by another anniversary” of Wesley Methodist Church. Like the opening song, “You are the everlasting God”, we were reminded of the Lord lifting us like eagles.
Both on-side and on-line worshippers were invited to exchange greetings with those around them through safe distancing peace gestures or with their friends with a simple text message of Shalom.
Pastor Clement then prayed for the Church to be “in unity in love”, followed by prayers led by our LCEC Chairperson, Mr Philip Oh. As Mr Oh thanked God for His provision of “abundant resources” over the years, he remembered that Wesleyans could only be a blessing to “the least, lost and last” because of the Lord Himself.
Pre-recorded beautiful songs of thanksgiving and praise were played at the service.
Worship Unto the Lord
A canorous rendition of “In my life, be glorified” accompanied by the orchestra, was put up by the Wesley combined service choir in English, Chinese and Tagalog.
The three languages the beautiful hymn was sung in underscored the different communities that our Church minister to. The rendition reminded us that no matter the languages we speak, where we come from, we are all in His Church. Wesley Methodist Church belongs to God Himself.
Another beautiful performance was put up by the Sunbeams Choir. Their youthful enthusiasm to lift Jesus high was unmistakeable.
Church staff is a cornerstone of our daily church activities and ministries, and it was befitting to dedicate a total of 90 full-time staff at Wesley on this special occasion.
While it would be virtually impossible to get a glimpse of all the faces of Wesley’s Church staff at a physical service previously, the online service this year had made it possible for us to be able to take a closer look at all the staff dedicated at this service on zoom.
Pastor Raymond thanked the Wesley’s full-time staff for their “readiness to serve, commitment to be faithful and the sacrifices made that are sometimes unknown but only to God”. Although “the past year has been very challenging”, Pastor Raymond said the Church is “thankful for the team of dedicated staff who have served tirelessly, adapted creatively and persevered joyfully in serving God”.
Message of “A Weaned Child” by Bishop Rev Dr Gordon Wong
The highlight of this year’s anniversary combined service was unequivocally the sermon delivered by our Bishop Rev Dr Gordon Wong.
On behalf of our 45 sister churches, Bishop extended their greetings and well wishes to Wesley on her anniversary. In line with our Church theme for this year, Bishop has chosen to speak on Psalm 131.
Psalm 131 is deemed by some “which takes a few seconds to read but a life time to learn. Its wisdom is most appreciated by those who are at their twilight years”. The Psalmist here speaks of a humble heart, a weaned child who rests in God and ceases over striving and pursuing.
“This is the picture of Christian faith presented to us in Psalm 131: A relationship of dependence and trust as that of a weaned child, resting on his mother. The wise Christians neither do too little nor too much,” says Bishop Gordon. Rest entails “a deliberate and determined effort to compose and give rest” to one’s soul. “This is the secret to contentment and peace: trust. Put your hope in the Lord. The secret to a soul at rest is learning to hope in the Lord.”
Bishop’s sermon encouraged us “to rest and to be composed in God” and to have a balanced attitude in all aspects of our life by applying the spiritual perspective of a weaned child in Psalm 131. Bishop Wong highlighted the distinct differences between “healthy aspiration” and “harmful ambition”. He encouraged us to have the wisdom and insight to know when we “have gone too far” (a quote from a traditional Irish blessing in mind).
The message of a weaned child was a strong reminder for Wesleyans to rest and trust in the Lord in a year when we embark, as a church, to rest, reflect and renew in God.
With the conclusion of the uplifting sermon and prayers, the Wesley 136th Anniversary combined service closed with the dedication hymn, “By My Spirit”. It emblematizes the grace Wesley Methodist Church has received from the Lord to come so far, through all the thick and thin.
As the dedication hymn composed by Rev Melvin Huang and Leong Wai Meng goes: “By my spirit says the Lord, not by strength or might. This mighty mountain will be removed”.
“As we work with Jesus hand in hand”.