Celebrating Christmas at Berseh

Kelantan Court Pavilion at Jalan Berseh was abuzz with festive cheer on 3 December 2023 with the return of the annual Christmas Carnival. The carnival was jointly organised by Wesley Christian Outreach & Social Concerns (COSC) Ministry volunteers and the Residents Committee (RC) at Kelantan Court. This community is part of COSC’s outreach programme at Jalan Berseh. More than 60 volunteers and representatives from COSC, Local Church Executive Committee (LCEC) and COSC staff team collaborated to organise the Carnival.

Over 280 households together with seven migrant workers joined the carnival. This was the first time that Wesley Migrant Ministry (WMM) invited migrant workers to attend. The atmosphere was abuzz with excitement and joy as they participated enthusiastically in the afternoon’s carnival activities.

The day also marked the re-opening of the Wesley@Berseh Centre.

The newly renovated Wesley@Berseh Centre

Carnival cheer

The carnival kicked off with familiar Christmas tunes and local songs. Residents were invited to sing along with the Wesley Creative Expression Ministry (CEM). Some sang with much gusto and others joined the beat by shaking their ‘homemade shakers’ provided by volunteers. From afar, the joyous and lively tunes added much cheer.

Wesley Creative Expression Ministry engaging the residents with upbeat music and songs

Ten carnival booths with games and snacks were also setup by 50 Wesley volunteers. From the mouthwatering aroma of the popcorn booth to ‘stack the fastest tower’ game, guests both young and old actively participated.

Residents trying their hand at various carnival games

Importance of Christmas

The atmosphere was filled with a mix of excitement and anticipation as residents awaited the arrival of Denise Phua, Mayor of Central Singapore District and Member of Parliament, Jalan Besar GRC to open the Carnival.

Ms Denise Phua, MP of Jalan Besar GRC (3rd from right), Rev Raymond Fong (2nd from left) with WYC teens, volunteers and representatives from COSC, LCEC and RC

Ms Phua shared in both English and Mandarin that Christmas is special and celebrates the birth of Jesus. She highlighted that Christmas was not just about Santa Claus, Christmas trees or shopping. More importantly, Christmas is special as it represents the birth of Jesus who died on the cross to save mankind.

Pastor-in-Charge Rev Raymond Fong then went on stage to welcome residents and usher in the celebrations. Both Ms Phua and Pastor Raymond took turns to give away 20 lucky draw prizes to the delighted residents.

A resident receiving her prize from Pastor Raymond

Wong Sook Ling, a volunteer at the Pong Ball booth said, “I was glad that my Small Group A.C.T.S. (A Community To Serve) could come together to serve. This is the second time our Small Group is volunteering at the Christmas Carnival@Berseh. It is meaningful and a joy for us to serve together and see the smiles on residents’ faces. The opportunity to spread cheer is truly a blessing.”

Brand new Wesley@Berseh Centre

Residents welcomed a brighter and modern Wesley@Berseh Centre after a long renovation delayed by Covid. The Centre represents WMC’s larger commitment to the Berseh community. It is also part of Wesley COSC’s strategy to impact the community through the 3Bs: Blessing, Belonging and Believing. The vision for the Centre is to be a community where residents feel welcomed and find safety, support and develop spiritual friendships. 

Pastor Raymond opened the Wesley@Berseh Centre with a prayer of blessing. He highlighted that the Centre enables residents to experience God’s presence and be transformed. Pastor Raymond also shared the vision and hope for the Centre. “As we are entering a new season and phase of plans, we hope to turn the Centre into a sanctuary where all who come can encounter God’s love and find true learning and community,” said Pastor Raymond. Ms Phua also toured the Centre with Pastor Raymond.

Two teens who regularly visit Wesley Youth Centre (WYC) then introduced WYC and shared how it had impacted their lives. Sherlynn Huang and Isaac Shah highlighted that WYC was a place of support for young residents to hang out, receive free tuition and opportunities to build relationships through befriending activities.

Sherlynn Huang and Isaac Shah sharing how they have benefited from the services offered by WYC

Isaac said, “Wesley Youth Centre offers free tuition to those who need additional help for their academics. I am one of these students and I enjoy having tuition with my tutor. I enjoy hanging out with my friends and doing activities after school at WYC.”

Sherlynn said, “WYC also organises activities like rock climbing and nature walks which creates opportunities for building relationships. I have been in the OWL reading programme since I was seven and I am now 13. OWL has taught me many values and stirred my interest in reading.”

It was fulfilling to hear from their testimonies how they felt a greater sense of belonging in the community. Both Sherlynn and Isaac highlighted that they would be returning as student volunteers at WYC in 2024.

The day’s festivities ended with dinner bentos distributed to residents. Being able to witness a multi-cultural and intergenerational community come together to enjoy the Christmas festivities is truly heartwarming. We look forward to seeing the next Christmas Carnival@Berseh!

Residents immersing in the music and festivities of the Christmas carnival

(Photos by William Choo)

More Christmas@Berseh photos are available here.

Read also: Festive Cheer back at Jalan Berseh

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