Features, Highlights

Let the little children come

A new chapter for Methodist preschools

The Rev Niam Lai Huey (left, PIC of SKMC) and Dr Moo Swee Ngoh (MPSPL Director)

Methodist Preschool Service Pte Ltd (MPSPL) held its first Thanksgiving and Dedication Service on 28 Dec 2020 at Bedok Methodist Church (MC). The service was live-streamed to the other four centres at Faith MC, Foochow MC, Sengkang MC and Toa Payoh MC. These five Methodist kindergartens are the first batch to come under the umbrella of MPSPL. A plaque was unveiled at each centre by the respective Pastor-in-charge and witnessed by a MPSPL board member.1

We thank the Lord for bringing us from the germination of the idea, more than two years ago, to bring Methodist preschools under a central organisation, through the many discussions among various committees and councils, and culminating in the approval by the General Conference Executive Council (GCEC) of The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) on July 30 last year as well as the allocation of seed money for MPSPL’s formation.

On 4 Sep 2020, approval from the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) was obtained. We were confronted by a long list of things to be done within an extremely tight timeline to meet the target date of 1 Jan 2021 for the Transfer of Licence. The administrative tasks included gaining approval from each local church LCEC, applying for the Transfer of Licence, and working out the terms of the agreements with the five churches for the transfer and the subsequent lease of premises for the next few years.

In addition, there were meetings with the kindergarten staff to win them over to join MPSPL, as well as virtual meetings with the parents of the children registered for 2021 to persuade them to stay on by sharing with them what their children would enjoy under MPSPL, including the new four-hour curriculum.

Supervised by their principals, the teachers worked hard to prepare to implement the revised curriculum. Renovation work proceeded to give the preschools’ premises a refreshed look and feel. Not only were HDB and URA clearances required because of the unique situation of some of the kindergartens, numerous operating contracts also had to be transferred to MPSPL so that operations could begin safely and smoothly from 1 Jan 2021. The final approval, from the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) for the transfer of licences from the local churches to MPSPL, was received on the morning of 31 Dec 2020.

The Lord smoothed the rocky path, and we were blessed along the way by so many people—from individuals giving of their time and expertise to guide us to those who facilitated the many processes required before ECDA could approve the transfer. Many who were involved as part of their jobs went out of their way to help prod us and facilitate efforts that had to run concurrently.

We are thankful that we are not alone in this venture to help bring the little children to our Lord. The local churches know that this local ministry is important, perhaps as much as their overseas mission ministry. Here is the opportunity to sow into the lives of little children as well as to reach out to non-Christian families and homes, to which they might otherwise not have access.

Bishop Dr Gordon Wong’s exhortation during the 28 Dec Thanksgiving and Dedication Service was especially meaningful as it helped us focus on why we are doing all these—so that little children can continue to come to Him. He encouraged us to find joy in knowing that our work is very significant in the eyes of Jesus for as we provide an environment where little ones can experience the loving welcome of God, we welcome and honour the Lord Christ Himself. The work of loving and shaping pre-schoolers in His likeness is tough and tiring work requiring much patience and perseverance, but Jesus would say that such work is among the greatest service, even if the status and material rewards do not reflect its importance.

We have also learned that our job is simply to trust and obey. Along the way, the Lord will send helpers to bring us forward. The significance of obtaining final approval only on the last day of 2020 was not lost on us. It has taught us to continue to rely on Him and His strength, especially when things get tough and the obstacles seem impossible to surmount. As one pastor shared in a New Year’s day sermon, we should “Look Up” to God, and see the Lord in action; “Look Out” for others around us; and “Look Inwards” to see our inner selves are right with God. It is a poignant reminder that we need to continue to depend on Him. For this, we humbly covet your prayers and help in whatever form.

With all the blessings experienced along this journey with a seemingly impossible deadline, the Lord showed that with Him, nothing is impossible.

1 Watch the service at https://youtu.be/cauedkiyFos

The Rev Ling Tien Ngung (left, PIC of TPCMC) and the Rev Reuben Ng (PIC of TPMC)
(left to right) Lim Boon Chuan (LCEC Chair), Liaw Chun Huan (MPSPL Director), the Rev Raymond Fong (PIC of Faith MC), Veronica Low (Faith Preschool Accounts Executive) and Tan Chow Boon (Faith Kindy Chair)
Bishop Dr Wong (left) and Henry Tan, Chairperson of MPSPL
(from left to right) The Rev Khoo Kay Huat (PIC of Bedok MC), Bishop Dr Gordon Wong, Patsy Wee (Principal) and Joseph Lee (Vice Chair of Bedok MC Kindergarten Management Committee)

Dr Michael Lim is the General Manager of Methodist Preschool Service Pte Ltd (MPSPL) / Photos courtesy of MPSPL