Combined worship service, publication and dinner mark the special day
FOR worshippers at Bukit Panjang Methodist Church (BPMC), the Sunday of June 3, 2007 will be a special day to remember for a long time to come. On that beautiful Sunday, the church reached a significant milestone in its history and development – it was 70 years to the day when it was founded.
To commemorate the occasion, the church held a special combined service in the afternoon, followed by a 10-course dinner at Praisehaven, The Salvation Army, just next door to BPMC Annexe block.
A special 120-page publication that chronicled the church’s 70-year history was also distributed to church members.
The worship service was graced by Bishop Dr Robert Solomon, Chinese Annual Conference President Rev Khoo Cheng Hoot, District Superintendent of City-West District Rev Chua Ooi Suah and District Superintendent of City-East District Rev Chong Chin Chung.
In the packed Auditorium and Sports Centre, the worship service started with a processional march that featured standard bearers, carrying in sequence, the cross, the bible and six flags (the first representing BPMC, followed by flags of the Hokkien, English, Chinese, WOW and Lishi services respectively), making their way to the stage.
The occasion also saw the consecration of the 80-strong combined BPMC Choir dressed in the new choir robe of white satin with red stole by the Rev Khoo. The choir, which consisted of the Mandarin, Hokkien, Mandarin Children’s and English choirs, then led the worship segment with songs of praise and thanksgiving.
In his sermon entitled “The Grace In Which We Now Stand”, Bishop Dr Solomon spoke of the great blessings we have in Christ because we stand in a place of grace. He then went on to elaborate that we should rejoice in our salvation; that we are not only saved by the death of Jesus, but also by His life.
The sermon provided a deeper understanding of our salvation – that it is important to know what Christ has done for us, and that this was the plan that God, in His grace, has provided so that we can be saved, and stand justified and righteous before Him.
After the worship service, the church continued with its 70th anniversary celebrations with a dinner. Church members thoroughly enjoyed the fellowship, with exchanges of stories from the past as they flipped through the commemorative book, not to mention the attempts to identify familiar faces from the old photographs that were featured in it.
Live music and songs also kept the occasion lively and the diners entertained. Highlights included a song item from our four pastors, songs by the English service congregation, a Chinese orchestra offering by the youth from the Lishi service congregation, a Hokkien
song duet from Lip Seng and Tuck Kong, and a special impromptu item by the Rev Koh Keok Nguang, the Associate Pastor, who sang a song with words that he wrote to a familiar Teochew tune.
As the evening drew to a close, our Pastor-in-Charge, the Rev Niam Kai Huey, and the Chairman of Local Church Executive Committee, Dr Stephen Yeo, led in cutting the anniversary cake on stage with several pioneer church members. This capped off what had truly been a memorable Sunday for BPMC members.
Perspectives and reflections
Senior members who had been attending BPMC for decades and had grown up with the church looked back to
the early years with nostalgia and fond memories. As for the more recent members, they marvelled at the rich history of BPMC and took note of the many ups and downs faced by the church through the years.
Their perspectives may be different, but there was one common thread running through these reflections – that BPMC had come a long way in its journey to grow and expand God’s Kingdom.
Starting out in June 1937 with just a single Hokkien congregation worshipping God in a charcoal shop, BPMC today is a multi-lingual church with five services in three languages that cater to the spiritual needs of multi-generational families
and believers, that actively engages in evangelistic efforts in the surrounding community, and regularly sends mission groups overseas to share the Gospel.
As BPMC looks back at the past 70 years, it is evident that God’s presence was with BPMC from Day One. Time and again, He has revealed His faithfulness and love. As the congregation grew, God raised caring pastors and capable leaders. When the church needed more space, God provided the resources and paved the way for its expansion. To cope with new and ever-changing needs, God prompted for new ministries to be formed.
In joyful celebration, we give glory, praise and thanks to an awesome God for His grace and generous blessings in the past, the present, and in the future years to come!
John Low is a member of Bukit Panjang Methodist Church.