Happenings, News

Band of Christian Brothers

Although written in a local church journal some 60 years ago, Yap Pheng Geck’s idealism derived from his experience in the Band of Christian Brothers in the ACS of the 1920s never left him. But it is idealism of this kind that Methodists should surely maintain and propagate in a culture that has become too accommodating and is in danger of losing all sense of the ideal.

“We are a band of Christian brothers, Bound together by our love for Jesus, Our Elder Brother, and our desire to Carry on His good work.
We stand for the honour of our parents, For the honour of Christ, our dear Lord and Master and for His Holy Kingdom. We pledge ourselves by God’s help to Keep our hearts and lives pure and unspotted before the world and in His sight and to work the honour and uplifting of God’s kingdom.”

‘I PRESENT TO MY READERS the above pledge which was repeated early every Saturday morning by a little band of young men who met regularly at a prayer meeting at the house of the late Mrs Anna A. Zinn when she was in Singapore. is short article is not an attempt to tell of Mrs Zinn and her good work. It is merely an effort to recall and to present to the young people of today a very worthy pledge, one that by its content and phraseology should capture the minds of the young.

It is my earnest conviction that the hope of a better world lies in the hands of the young. Given the right ideals and interests, the young can be moulded into any shape. To furnish such ideals and interests among the young is the most important concern of educators and leaders of the world today.

The young are always susceptible to appeals of honour and any challenge made to them to stand up for anything worthy and honourable meets with enthusiastic response. It is a good sign to see all over the world young people organised in large numbers to stand up for noble ideals, principally ideals of good order and goodwill. But there is a danger in the emphasis on numbers rather than intensity; for there is a superficiality and intoxication in large numbers which is often mistaken for the earnestness which is only possible by concentrating on the few.

The band of Christian brothers whose pledge is given above was not an organisation for large numbers. It was intended for the earnest few. ere was no formality to be complied with prior to admission into the brotherhood. There was not even a roll. It is merely a spontaneous gathering of certain young men attracted together by the ideals of Jesus as taught by Mrs Zinn and exemplified in her life.

Sometimes their meetings were attended by large numbers because a well-known speaker was to give the address. At other times only a handful were present, but whether an outstanding speaker addressed the meeting or only one of the brethren, no variation in the procedure of meeting was permitted.

The usual hymns which best express the aspirations of youth were sung to the accompaniment of a baby organ; the simple prayers for strength, courage, better manhood and larger usefulness were offered at the close of the meeting, the solemn repetition of that pledge. e inspirer of those meetings concentrated on the development of the Christ Spirit on the faithful few.

As I look back on those days when I regularly attended the meetings of this little band I cannot help thinking how much I have been saved and how many good things of the spirit have come to me through having imbibed the inspiring atmosphere at those Saturday morning meetings and my association with that saintly character, Mrs Zinn. In my mind this pledge of which she was the author and which whether fully observed or not will remain an inspiration to young minds and earnest hearts at all times.’ – The Unfailing Light, Nov 1939, p.6-7.

By Yap Pheng Geck