Hinghwa MC hits a century

The RevYu Li Chan, former pastor of Hingwa Methodist Church (HMC), blowing out the candle on the Centennial Cake. He is accompanied by pastors and leaders of HMC. Picture by Benjamin Yu.

Celebrations include Centennial Thanksgiving Service and Banquet

“HOW OLD WAS ABRAHAM WHEN ISAAC WAS BORN?” is question, posed by Bishop Dr Robert Solomon in his sermon during the centennial celebrations of Hinghwa Methodist Church (HMC), highlighted that Abraham was 100 years old at the time.

The Bishop thus expressed his hope that HMC, having reached 100 years of service, will likewise birth an “Isaac” – a new generation of God’s people through Yishun Methodist Mission (YMM), their preaching point.

He was speaking at HMC’s Centennial anksgiving Service and Banquet at Orchid Country Club on Dec 13, 2011, which was attended by more than 1,000 members and guests at 109 tables. Interpreting for him was the Rev Dr Niam Kai Huey, Associate Pastor of HMC.

Bishop Dr Solomon compared HMC’s 100-year journey with that of Isaac and the patriarchs’ journeys. He drew from the story of Isaac settling in the valley of Gerar, as related in Genesis 26:17-25.

There were three things that Isaac did in this journey: First, he called on God’s name; second, he re-digged wells originally dug by his father and used the same names; and third, he built an altar. Calling on God’s name is important because it is in His name that Christians worship, pray and serve.

The passage also shows how Isaac continued to seek water by digging wells despite facing opposition, emphasising the importance of fresh water to having life, and indicating how much Christians need the water of life that Jesus offers to all in John 4:13-14.

Journeying with God will also entail sacrifice, as evidenced by Isaac building an altar in response to God’s reassurance of His accompanying presence. Likewise, Christians should respond to God’s mercy in their lives by offering themselves to Him as living sacrifices, as Paul urged in Romans 12:1-2.

The Bishop said: “We must re-examine our sacrifice, and our commitment to the Lord. It must be evidenced by true transformation.”

Most importantly, in all the three things that Isaac did, God was in the centre. “We come to the Lord’s table to experience these realities.”

The anksgiving Service began at 5 pm. Guests included Members of Parliament Ms Denise Phua and Mr Edwin Tong, Bishop Dr Solomon, Chinese Annual Conference (CAC)

President Rev Dr Chong Chin Chung, and pastors and leaders of the other 15 local churches of the CAC.

Some family members of HMC’s early pastors were also present. e first pastor of HMC, the late Rev Deng Bing Dang, was represented by his granddaughter Mrs Chow Kye Keong and her brothers. Representing the late Rev Yap It Tong was his grandson Dr Tay Boon Keng, and the longest-serving Hinghwa pastor, the late Rev Paul S. H. Hang, was represented by his daughters, Mrs Mary Loh and Ms Ruth Hang.

The combined HMC choir comprising members from the four congregations in HMC as well as YMM presented an anthem, “ The Lord Has Given A Land Of Goodings”.

A special offering was collected for the “Hinghwa Methodist Church YMM Building Fund”. Established in 1994, YMM was adopted by HMC in 1995 as the mission point in Yishun.

For 17 years, YMM had determined to be “In Yishun, For Yishun” despite having experienced struggles but also witnessing God’s blessing and providence. Its members joyfully anticipate YMM becoming a Local Conference of the CAC in 2013.

In his congratulatory message to HMC, the Rev Dr Chong used 24 Chinese words to express his wishes: “Founded 100 years ago, HMC continues to renew itself daily to exalt the Cross; after a century of evangelism, HMC still serves the Lord faithfully every day and spreads the Gospel far and wide.”

The celebrations continued at 7 pm with the banquet. Milestones of HMC’s 100-year history were shared in a presentation, and tokens of appreciation were presented to HMC’s Voluntary Preacher and seven Honorary Stewards who had served for many years.

The Rev Yu Li Chan, a former pastor of HMC and the last surviving pastor with the ability to preach in the Hinghwa vernacular, was invited to cut the Centennial Cake, accompanied by the Rev Dr Chong, pastors and leaders of HMC.