Features, Highlights, Outreach, Welfare

Galvanising Methodists to help the under-served

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us…if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:6-8 (NIV)

Doing God’s work

Founded in 1981, Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) is a multi-service charitable organisation as well as the social concerns arm of The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS). Embodying the Wesleyan spirit of helping the poor and needy from all walks of life, MWS serves the young and old of all races and religions through 20 centres and various outreach programmes across Singapore.

Our vision is to enable all to live life to the full through reducing chronic poverty, alleviating the strains and stresses of modern family life, helping the elderly age in place and live in dignity, nurturing the potential of disadvantaged children, and rehabilitating at-risk youths.

Guiding and supporting us in our endeavours is our Patron, Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung. In addition, our Board of Governance that consists of elected members of the clergy, leaders and prominent members of the Methodist community leads us in our work.

Our spectrum of services

MWS’ critical services support low-income and/or distressed families, children and youths from low-income families, youths at risk, the destitute, sick and/or frail elderly, and the socially isolated. With a strong focus on those who have fallen through the cracks, our services and programmes are built around a holistic and integrated approach to create sustained positive impact.

In FY2015/2016, MWS helped more than 13,000 beneficiaries across five key impact areas: disadvantaged children, at-risk youths, multi-stressed families, socially isolated elderly and migrant workers, and the chronically ill, frail, and destitute.

Currently, we are working to fill urgent needs in several gaps in Singapore’s social and healthcare service landscape, especially in eldercare. These needs include a severe shortage of nursing home beds, and inadequate support in helping seniors age in place and with dignity across a spectrum of ages and physical conditions.

Addressing these concerns, MWS has doubled our eldercare services in the last two years, including the launch of three new centres in 2017 alone. They are the 197-bed MWS Nursing Home (Yew Tee), and two MWS Senior Activity Centres in Kebun Baru and Pasir Ris.

Our two homecare services for chronically ill and frail seniors, Agape Methodist Hospice and MWS HomeJoy, have also joined forces to co-care for patients and support their resource-strapped caregivers.

Another identified area of critical need involves low levels of financial management awareness and social mobility among chronically poor families. For this, we have launched the MWS Family Development Programme (FDP) featuring a main debt- and savings-matching component, at a dollar ratio of 1:2 capped at a maximum of $200 a month.

The MWS FDP is a continuation from the successful GOOD (Getting Out Of Debt) Programme that ran during Singapore’s Jubilee in 2015 and as part of the MCS’ 130th anniversary. It also incorporates new elements like monthly educational bursaries, and provision of milk to babies and pregnant mothers.

Our church partnerships

Methodist churches have been an integral part of our work through the past decades. In addition to supporting us in our various donation campaigns, volunteer drives and fellowship events, some churches have also adopted our centres and programmes as their social concerns ministries.

Currently 14 of our centres have a partnering church, with members sitting on our Central Governance Committees overseeing each centre’s operations and grassroots matters.

Some of our long-standing partner churches are Paya Lebar Methodist Church which adopted Covenant Family Service Centre in 1987; Pentecost Methodist Church which took on Tampines Family Service Centre in 1991; and Christ Methodist Church which came aboard to adopt Christalite Methodist Home in 1997.

The General Conference Women’s Society of Christian Service is also our partner for our home for troubled youths – Residence @ St George’s.

In 2016, MWS launched the MWS Ambassadors (MWSA) initiative to nurture closer relationships and engagement with church members. To date, we have 28 MWSAs from 25 churches. As leaders of the local church social concerns committees, they have been effective and valuable in advocating for MWS, raising awareness, and serving as bridges between MWS and their congregations.

One of the longest-running church partnerships originated on the greens. Inaugurated in 1989, Methodist churches have been convening at the MWS Fellowship on the Greens charity golf event every year. In addition to promoting interactions between golfers from various Methodist churches, the convening churches have been instrumental in planning and fundraising.

MWS is also blessed by collaborations with Hakka Methodist Church and Trinity Methodist Church on the MWS Family Development Programme launched last year. Committed volunteers from these churches have stepped up to befriend and support distressed families placed on the programme.

Volunteering pays back

As the heart and soul of every charity, volunteers are an essential and much-appreciated group of workers at MWS.

However, there is another side to volunteering. Volunteers have constantly told us how much more they gained than they gave: from being more thankful, to growing into better people, to getting inspired and amazed by the bravery and strength that beneficiaries show in the face of adversity.

While we have been very fortunate to have the unwavering support and commitment of Methodists who have served tirelessly for years, it is important to have more on board to carry on the work.

We can do so much more as a Methodist family!

As the Lord said, we will always have the poor. With needs in the community ever-increasing, we are looking for more Methodists to do the Lord’s work.

If you would like to serve and bless the poor and needy, we welcome you to join us.

FIND OUT more about our causes at www.mws.sg. For more information on how you or your church can be involved in volunteering with us, please email ce@mws.sg. If you wish to donate, please visit give.mws.sg.

By the Methodist Welfare Services Communications Team