Happenings, News

Last service at Trinity MC in Serangoon Garden Way New church building to go up in 18 months

New church building to go up in 18 months

FOR members of Trinity Methodist Church (TMC), the last week of 2002 was one of great transition. The move to Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ Primary School for Sunday worship services took place on Dec 29, 2002. There was, however, one last service at the familiar sanctuary in Serangoon Garden Way.

Dec 31, 2002, 10.15 pm
A steady stream of cars entered the narrow driveway between the sanctuary and the education building. Perhaps some realised that this would be the last time they would be part of a massive jig-saw puzzle under the skilled guidance of the car park ushers who slotted them neatly into the open space behind the sanctuary.

In another 18 months or so, that same space would be occupied by a new three-storey building and the narrow driveway exchanged for narrow ramps to three levels of basement car park.

As worshippers walked towards the entrance of the sanctuary, many would have noted the remaining pieces of furniture and fittings scattered outside the empty church office waiting to be bought by members, or sold to the karang guni man.

Candles: Light for the world. — Trinity Methodist Church picture.

10.25 pm
In the sanctuary, it seemed that nothing had changed. Among the well-worn wooden pews, people sat at familiar rows. Occasionally, someone yawned and a little boy slept peacefully at a corner under the sloping roof of the church.

10.30 pm
The Watchnight Service commenced. The voices that sang the opening hymn filled the space within the wooden walls. While delivering greetings, the Assistant Pastor, the Rev Foo Fook Heng, declared that it would be our “last time in this sanctuary, in this form”. It was a solemn reminder of the impending change.
In the sermon we were reminded, through the account of God’s meal with Abraham (Gen 17: 1-15), of how our God was a covenant-making and covenant-keeping God. Despite the repeated postponement of TMC’s move, God had been faithful in bringing about the eventual move and would remain so no matter what the coming year would bring. On our part, we should be in constant communion with God and be committed to Him.

11.40 pm

Lord, make me what you will.
I put myself fully into our hands:
Put me to doing, put me to suffering,
Let me be employed for You, or laid aside for You,
Let me be full, let me be empty,
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and with a willing heart
Give it all to Your pleasure and disposal

The familiar prayer resounded within the wooden walls as it had done every new year’s eve for the last few decades. Both as individuals and as a church, we acknowledged God as Lord: of our church building, our belongings, our lives and our times.

Jan 1, 2003, 12 am

Halfway through Holy Communion. Another year has begun, with warm glows on the dark wood reflecting soft flickering candlelights we held. The candles were to be extinguished only after we leave the sanctuary – a symbol of bringing the light into the world in the coming year.

12.30 am

One last long look at the now-emptied sanctuary. In the stillness of the night, the pews looked a little forlorn.
It would be different the next time we come back. But God would still be the same.

Patsy Mah worships at Trinity Methodist Church.