Singapore, 2 December 2016 – Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung, 61, took office as the new Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) at his Episcopal Consecration Service, held 2 December 2016 at Queenstown Chinese Methodist Church and Faith Methodist Church.
Doing so, he steps into the role of spiritual leader for more than 42,000 Methodists – the largest Protestant mainline denomination in Singapore. It has 46 churches, 15 Methodist schools, 13 Methodist kindergartens and 5 childcare centres, and serves the community through its welfare arm, the Methodist Welfare Services.
In response to his consecration, he said: “I thank God for His many blessings on the Methodist Church. I am prompted to be strong and courageous, just as God told Joshua in the Bible: ‘Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’ I am grateful for the many Methodist members who have been interceding for me, supporting me through prayer. I echo Methodism’s founder, John Wesley, who said that ‘The best of all is, God is with us!’ ”
An estimated 1,000 attendees were at the Consecration Service to witness the dedication of their new Bishop by several Methodist guest Bishops from Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Australia, and Taiwan. Bishop Dr Chong’s immediate predecessor, Bishop Emeritus Dr Wee Boon Hup, led the Service and the consecration. He has retired at the completion of his four-year term from 2012-2016.
The new Bishop’s wife and two of his three adult children, who are locally-based, were present in support. Attendees at the Service included 120 Methodist pastors, and 240 choral and orchestral performers.
Bishop Dr Chong was elected from a list of 43 eligible ministers at the Church’s 11th Session of General Conference at Ang Mo Kio Methodist Church on 13 September 2016. The election was conducted by secret ballot, and 42 votes were cast, with the Rev Dr Chong receiving the required two-thirds majority on the 8th ballot.
He has been a Methodist pastor for the past 32 years, and was elected as President of the Chinese Annual Conference or CAC (one of three language-based groupings under the MCS) in 2008, and re-elected to the same post in 2012. During his term as CAC President, he saw to the formation of the Conference’s Board of Family Life, in response to climbing divorce rates, and the complex challenges of work-life balance and parenting in a demanding environment. He was pastor of Kum Yan Methodist Church, and Pastor-in-Charge of Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church.
Said Mr Lau Shu Keung, long-time member of Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church (PLCMC): “My wife and I have been in PLCMC for about 50 years. In that time, the Rev Dr Chong was our Pastor-in-Charge for a total of 14 years over two periods. I spent four years working very closely with him as the church’s Lay Leader, and found him a very good and dedicated pastor. He has always placed the church and its members as a priority in his life, and we could see his love for and understanding of the church members, as we grew to know and love him too. He is really a faithful servant of God and I pray that God will continue to guide him and grant him wisdom in his new role as Bishop.”
The Rev Dr Chong was a graduate of Nanyang University in 1979, where he studied literature. He graduated from Trinity Theological College (TTC) with a Master of Divinity in 1981, and obtained a post-graduate Master of Theology degree from Duke Divinity School in 1995. In 2008, he received his Doctor of Theology degree from the South East Asia Graduate School of Theology. He has been a guest lecturer at TTC since 1996.