Kim Seah Teck Kim

A tribute to the outgoing Secretary of the Trustees of The Methodist Church in Singapore

Kim Seah Teck Kim
Kim Seah Teck Kim (extreme left) serving as BOF chairperson, one of the many roles he has taken on in MCS, at the 37th TRAC session

Kim Seah Teck Kim was born in 1954 and attended the (then) Anglo Chinese Junior School (ACJS) and Anglo Chinese Secondary School (ACSS). After obtaining the Higher School Certificate (HSC), he studied at the University of Singapore and graduated with an LLB (Hons). He then studied at the Harvard Law School under a US Fulbright Scholarship.

From 1977 to 1989, Kim taught at the Law Faculty of the National University of Singapore (NUS). He was Vice Dean when he left NUS for private practice.

Kim became a member of Ang Mo Kio Methodist Church in 1988. Since 1989, he has served in the Local Church Executive Committee (LCEC) in various capacities, including as Chairperson, Lay Leader and Associate Lay Leader. He has been a lay delegate to TRAC.

In TRAC, Kim has served as Vice President, Lay leader, Associate Lay Leader and first lay delegate to the General Conference (GC). He has also served in the Executive Board, Board of Finance, Board of Presidency (as Chairperson) and in other Boards in various capacities.

At the GC level, Kim has served in the General Conference Executive Council (GCEC), Finance and Administration Council (FAC), Judicial Council and Council on Education. He has been Assistant Education Secretary and represented The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) at the Asian and World Methodist Councils. He has also served on the boards of Geylang Methodist Schools Board, ACS Foundation and ACS (International).

For me, however, Kim’s most salient and significant contributions to the MCS are his service in the Discipline Revision Commission (DRC) and as Secretary of Trustees (SOT).

Kim was SOT from April 2001 to May 2021, the longest serving SOT by far. At present, he still serves as Assistant SOT. Kim joined the (then) Discipline Review Committee (DRC) in 1992 as a member and has been its Chairperson from 1996 to now. It is in the DRC that I have worked the longest and most closely with Kim.

Oh yes, he somehow found time to get married to Chai Lian. They have two adult daughters, Jacqueline and Jeanette.

The description so far would seem to be the service record of at least three persons but it is actually for just ONE. And the list is by no means exhaustive.

It would really be impossible to do justice to this giant (in more ways than one) and paragon of a servant of God and the MCS except to say that we will not see the like again.

Anyway, although Kim has stepped down as SOT he still serves in various capacities in all three levels of the MCS and long may it be so…with his wife’s permission, of course.

So personally I would like to say that it has been singular honour to compose this tribute and a privilege to have served and still serve with you in the MCS. It seems to me the best tribute I could render is to say to Kim, “Dude, I’d work with you any day.”

—Rev Melvin Huang (your PiCS—Partner in Church Service). This article has been written against Kim Seah Teck Kim’s wishes (as he sees no need for it, and fears it might diminish his reward in heaven).

Kim Seah Teck Kim (standing)
Kim Seah Teck Kim (extreme right) when he was serving as Lay Leader at the 44th TRAC session

Mr Kim Seah has often been described as possessing an elephantine and encyclopaedic memory. And because he exercises these qualities with empathy, he has been God’s blessing to our churches and Conferences for many years. I echo what someone recently said to him: MCS owes you a huge debt of gratitude for securing her interests well in the past two decades. Amen and thank you.

—Bishop Dr Gordon Wong

Being both strong and soft is a combination that few people have mastered and that is how I would describe Kim in my years of knowing and working with him.

Or, to put in another way, whenever I think of Kim, he reminds me of the conversation between Lucy and Mrs Beaver in “The Chronicles of Narnia”. Lucy once asked Mr Beaver if Aslan the Lion was safe.  Mr Beaver replied, “Safe?… Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good…”

—TRAC President Rev Stanley Chua

Kim Seah Teck Kim—we are used to calling him Kim. For 12 years, we sat down together regularly at the various meetings of the General Conference. He has indeed left a strong impression on me. Kim is a man of his word, with an amazing memory and his recollection of discussions and decisions is precise. His views and assessments are vividly clear, drawing authority from records and The Book of Discipline, and providing convincing and eloquent arguments. He works with great tenacity to clear all matters on the table, speaking deliberately and ensuring that nothing is treated perfunctorily. He treats everyone justly, without bias or prejudice, and when the need arises to point out errors or when there are disagreements, Kim exudes tact and earnestness, so that the hearers are convinced and accepting. What I will always remember and am most thankful for is how he kept his word to support me as best as he possibly could throughout my term as Bishop. May God bless him and his family.

—Bishop Emeritus Dr Chong Chin Chung

Rev Melvin Huang is a retired Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC) pastor. He served with Kim Seah for many years at all levels of the The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) particularly in the Discipline Review Commission. / Photos courtesy of TRAC