Thank you Lord for blessing Singapore
By Nathanael Tan

Christians offer thanksgiving and gratitude at National Day Service

CHRISTIANS from various denominations gathered to commemorate and offer gratitude for 43 years of blessings for Singapore at this year’s National Day Thanksgiving Service at St Andrew’s Cathedral on Aug 14.

Organised by the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS), the service incorporated several celebratory items, including choruses and a song and dance, put up by groups from various churches.

The bishops and heads of churches were present to jointly launch a booklet, A Guide to Common Issues in Inter-Religious Relations. It contains a collection of guidelines for Christians to follow, especially when faced with situations that involve members of other faiths in Singapore, such as whether to give to organisations of other faiths, or what we should do when leaders of other faiths are saying prayers.

A number of political leaders were also present at the service. They included Mr Gan Kim Yong, Acting Minister for Manpower, Assoc Professor Ho Peng Kee, Senior Minister of State (Law & Home Affairs), Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Senior Minister of State (Finance & Transport), Mdm Cynthia Phua, a Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC, and Mr Lim Biow Chuan, a Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC.

The Anglican Bishop of Singapore, the Most Rev Dr John Chew, spoke on the theme “The Issue that Matters” from John 2:1-22.

The Bishop, who is the President of NCCS, highlighted three main points in John’s first sign, where Jesus changed water into wine.
  1. The wine ran out - Just like wine that ran out in a wedding, good things in our world do not last. People constantly seek new things to replace them, sometimes without questioning whether it is suitable.
  2. Mary took notice - As the body of Christ, we need to be sensitive and attend to the basic needs of people. But is the church taking notice and do we really understand what the world needs now?
  3. Jesus’ response – “My time has not yet come.” - Our Lord knew the appropriate time for the work He needed to do. He did not act initially not because He could not, but because he chose not to. Is this a time for the church to hold back? If this is indeed the time for us to act, are we able to supply what the world really needs?
Bishop Chew also talked about two major periods in history: In 1968, when there was the Woodstock Festival, the Prague Spring Revolution, the Paris Riots and the Singapore Race Riots; and in 1989, when there was the Tiananmen Square Massacre and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Christianity had failed to meet the needs of the world in the aftermath of these two critical periods.

The Bishop underlined that perhaps the church needs to stop and think about what we have to offer to the world today, in light of the global economic slowdown.

We may need to first step back before offering anything, and until the time comes, the wine will continue to run out. But above all, when that hour comes, God will display His true glory, not the church’s, and we will revel in His success, he said.
 

Nathanael Tan is a member of St Andrew’s Cathedral.


NATIONAL DAY AWARDS 2008

CHURCHES
 
 
Aldersgate Methodist Church 
Wee Tat Chuen - Commendation Medal
 
Ang Mo Kio Methodist Church
Mr Kim Seah Teck Kim - Public Service Medal
 
Barker Road Methodist Church 
Mr Hwang Peng Yuan  - Public Service Star
Mr Peter Sim Swee Yam - Public Service Star
Mr Eric Low Siak Meng - Public Service Star (Bar)
Mrs Tan-Lee Fong May (*) - Public Administration Medal (Bronze)
Mdm Lim Kim Gek - Commendation Medal
Mr Chang Weng Fatt - Long Service Medal
 
Bedok Methodist Church 
Miss Paramita Bandara - Public Service Medal
 
Christ Methodist Church 
Mdm Kelvyna Tan Swee Ai(*) - Public Administration Medal (Silver)
 
Covenant Community Methodist Church 
Prof Tommy Koh Thong Bee - Order of Sang Nila Utama (First Class)
Mrs Anita Goh-Fam Sui Ping - Public Service Medal
Mr Edward Chye Sin Seng  - Public Service Medal
 
Kampong Kapor Methodist Church 
Mr Kwok Fook Seng - Public Administration Medal (Silver)
Mr Heng Guan Teck - Public Administration Medal (Silver)
 
Tamil Methodist Church 
Miss Shireen Poore - Commendation Medal
 
Wesley Methodist Church 
Mr Koh Boon Hwee - Distinguished Service Order
Mdm Sabrina Suvanaris - Public Administration Medal (Bronze)
Ms Ong Toon Hui - Public Administration Medal (Silver)
Ms Chua Lian Kee - Commendation Medal
Mrs Sylvia Mun Tan Bee Suan - Commendation Medal
Mr Choo Tuck Meng, William, PBM - Public Service Star
Mr David Alexander Ong Liang Bong (*) - Public Service Medal
Mr Chan Say Tee - Long Service Medal
Miss Tan Soon Hwa Jaci - Long Service Medal
Mrs Yeo-Ong Gak Tong Jean - Long Service Medal
Miss Lai Peck Chai - Long Service Medal
Mr Gan Seng Siew Sam - Long Service Medal
Mr Lim Keng Hian - Long Service Medal
Mr Lee Kim Seng - Long Service Medal
LTC Chin Loy Whay - Long Service Medal (Military)
 
SCHOOLS 
 
Anglo-Chinese School (Junior) 
Miss Sharon Geraldine Liat - Commendation Award
 
Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) 
Mrs Sandra Sim Chwui Chwui - Efficiency Medal
Mrs Tan Fong May (*) - Public Administration Medal (Bronze)
 
Anglo-Chinese Junior College 
Mrs Kelvyna Chan (*) - Public Administration Medal (Silver)
Ms Ng Swee Pheng - Commendation Medal
Mdm Liu Shih Ling - Long Service Medal
Mdm Peck Siew Hua - Long Service Medal
 
Fairfield Methodist Secondary School 
Miss Wong Chung Hei - Long Service Medal
 
Geylang Methodist School (Pri) 
Mrs Cynthia Seto - Commendation Award
Mrs Clara Ng - Long Service Award
 
Geylang Methodist School (Sec) 
Miss Leong Ying Wan - Long Service Medal
 
Methodist Girls' School 
Ms Tsien Jiuan Jiuan - Efficiency Medal
Mrs Janet Ng Long - Service Medal
Mrs Elizabeth Lee - Long Service Medal
Mrs Tong Mei Jit - Long Service Medal
Mrs Magdalene Sim - Long Service Medal
Ms Chuah Cheng Kim - Long Service Medal
 
Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' School (Secondary) 
Mr Alvin Yeo Siek Khoon - Public Service Star
 
AGENCY 

Methodist Welfare Services 
Miss Anita Fam Siu Ping (*) - Public Service Medal
Mr David Alexander Ong Liang Bong (*) - Public Service Medal 
 
* THIS LIST WAS GIVEN BY THE CHURCHES, SCHOOLS AND AGENCY NAMED HERE.