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JWC: Testament to God’s grace and providence

Bishop Dr Robert Solomon unveiling the John Wesley Centre plaque. With him are, from left, Mr Chan Fook Kay, Chairman, Finance and Administration Council; Mr Chow Kok Fong, Chairman, Committee on Property Development; the Rev Dr Isaac Lim, TRAC President; the Rev Dr Vinson Samuel, ETAC President; and the Rev Khoo Cheng Hoot, CAC President.


JOHN WESLEY once said that “nothing is properly our own in the land of our pilgrimage”. In the spirit of this belief, more than 400 people gathered on February 2, 2002 at The Sanctuary of the new John Wesley Centre (JWC) at Upper Bukit Timah Road to dedicate the complex and its resident institutions to the glory of God.

The Sanctuary, home of the English-speaking congregation of Bukit Panjang Methodist Church, is one of the four institutions at JWC. The others are Trinity Theological College (TTC), St Francis Methodist School (SFMS) and the Methodist School of Music (MSM).

Set against the beautiful backdrop of Bukit Timah, the new John Wesley Centre is a testament to the wonderful grace and providence of God. The complex is a culmination of years of searching for an appropriate home that would serve the needs of the Methodist community.

In 1996, the Government announced the acquisition of the Methodist property on Mt Sophia, which was the traditional home for Methodist institutions like the John Wesley Centre, Trinity Theological College and the WSCS Centre. A new home had to be found, and The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) had to look to God to provide it with a suitable location that would be able to house these institutions. This was made possible when the Salvation Army announced plans to release some of its property at Upper Bukit Timah Road.

In recognition of this journey, Bishop Dr Robert Solomon, the Episcopal Head of MCS, stressed in his message to the congregation that we are pilgrims like Abraham and his descendents, who believed that it was better to have a mobile home and a settled heart, than a settled home and a mobile heart.

We were also reminded that all our assets belong to God. We are merely stewards of His property. The Bishop then went on to point out the responsibilities that came with stewardship.

As stewards, we are called to use His assets gratefully; acknowledging all the time that these assets have arrived through the grace of God and not by our own ability and power. These resources in our care are to be used to fulfil God’s purpose, not any personal or political agenda. Likewise, the institutions in the new John Wesley Centre must fulfil God’s purpose for them.

Finally, we must understand that we have to handle God’s property responsibly. We are answerable to God for how we manage these resources, resources He has allowed us to have in trust, a trust that must not be betrayed.

“Responsibility must be exercised in how we manage these institutions, how we plan, and how we practise accountability. We must not squander away these God-given resources,” said Bishop Dr Solomon.

Following his message, he unveiled the plaques for John Wesley Centre, the Methodist School of Music and St Francis Methodist School. Prayers of blessing were also offered for Trinity Theological College (TTC) and Bukit Panjang Methodist Church, which conducts its English service at The Sanctuary.

The service was well supported by the Methodist School of Music (MSM) Instrumental Ensemble and the MSM Combined Choir. The music rendered was majestic and moving, somewhat reflective of the gratitude of our community as we were able to worship God in such picturesque surroundings.

As a way of paying tribute to God for His provision, musical items were presented by the Bukit Panjang Choir, the SFMS Christian Fellowship and the TTC Faculty Chorus. These songs were all belted out with gusto and delivered from the heart, illustrating that this celebration reflected the hearts of the entire Methodist community in Singapore.

It was an inspiring dedication service, and a tribute it was to God Almighty.

As the service ended, all guests were invited to fellowship over tea, and to reflect on God’s grace upon the Methodist community in Singapore.

Clarence Yap worships at Covenant Community Methodist Church.

With accompaniment by the MSM Instrumental Ensemble and the MSM Combined Choir, the congregation sang “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”.
The call to worship by the Rev Tan-Yeo Lay Suan, Pastor-in-Charge
of Bukit Panjang Methodist Church.
The MSM Instrumental Ensemble rendering “Canon in D” during the offertory.
Stirring sounds from the TTC Faculty Chorus.