Happenings, News

Living Hope MC finally gets land for building

The 3,064-sq m piece of land at Tampines Street 33 on which Living Hope Methodist Church will rise. — Living Hope Methodist Church picture.

It bid $6m for Tampines Street 33 site

Over: Decade-long search for building site

AFTER a decade-long search, the former Tampines Methodist Church, known now as Living Hope Methodist Church, has finally found a piece of land for its own building.

The church, which is using the St George’s Chapel at Cranwell Road, off Loyang Avenue, for its Sunday worship services since 1991 when it became a member church of Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC), bid successfully for a 3,064-sq m piece of land at Tampines Street 33 in September.

With the support of TRAC, it beat four other church groups with a $6.1-million bid for the Housing and Development Board’s (HDB) site designated for a church building.

The TRAC President, the Rev Dr Isaac Lim, said the church, which had its name changed from Tampines to Living Hope almost two years ago, had waited many years for the land. “It is a wonderful sign for Living Hope’s future,” he added.

Living Hope, started by a group of members from Wesley Methodist Church who responded to a call for a Methodist church in Tampines 13 years ago, had tried to obtain land for the church’s building from the HDB thrice unsuccessfully, twice in Tampines and once in Simei. Its first Pastor was the Rev Dr George Wan.

And over the past three years, it also tried to buy two bungalows and two shophouses in Upper Changi Road North.
Living Hope’s Pastor-in-Charge, the Rev Lorna Khoo, said the gift of the land, located at the fringe of Tampines bordering Simei and Changi estates, confirmed God’s call to the church to go beyond Tampines.

She said initially, some of the church’s Local Church Executive Committee (LCEC) members were not sure about tendering for the land because in the last three years, God had called them to serve in Changi and the families of prisoners.

The church now has an early Sunday morning service at the Changi Chapel, attracting an average of between 25 and 30 worshippers weekly.

There were doubts among members whether God was calling them to “return to the initial focus on Tampines”, she explained.

Did they hear God wrongly in the past three years when they focused on Changi and the prison?

But after prayer and discernment before an emergency LCEC meeting to decide whether to go for the land, the committee members’ decision was a unanimous “Yes!”

Following careful study on the actual location of the piece of land, which is in the south-eastern end of Tampines, separated only by a highway from Simei estate and Upper Changi Road North, near Changi Prison, they said: “It is of the Lord.”

The Rev Khoo said one LCEC member explained that “God could not give the land to us earlier” as they were so focused on Tampines that they were not interested in other places, not even engaged directly in any mission work.
“Our vision was simply too small, it was ‘human-sized’,” said the member.

And now, after God had focused the church on the prison ministry at Changi, and it started a mission ministry in a neighbouring country and noted concerns for another country, it was given the land at the fringe of Tampines.

“Our ‘God-sized’ calling now is to Changi, the prison ministry, the fringe of Tampines and Simei — the immediate neighbourhood of the location — and the villages in the two countries,” said the Rev Khoo.

She said she hoped the new church building would have a prison ministry-related counselling and healing centre and an activities centre for senior citizens, among other facilities.

Living Hope MC’s LCEC Chairman, Mr Yeo Pee Hock, said all the church’s 86 adult members were excited by the successful bid for the land.

An early Sunday morning worship service at the
Changi Chapel. — Living Hope Methodist
Church picture.

“It was truly in God’s will and timing that we should have our church’s building only now,” he added.

He said the land was actually put up for tender a year ago but none of the church members and the pastor knew about it then.

But the land was not awarded to anyone because the highest bid then was too low, he added.

Mr Yeo said the inability of Living Hope to have its own premises had been a challenge to the church’s growth in the past.

“The successful bid for the land for the new building, which is surrounded by HDB flats and private condominiums, is a milestone for the church,” he added.

Church hopes building could be ready in two years

He said a church building committee had been formed recently and he hoped that the new church building could be completed in two years.

The Rev Isaac Lim said the conference would spend not more than $6 million for the new church building. He appealed to all TRAC and other Methodist churches to donate generously to the building fund.

He revealed that Wesley MC was among the first to respond with a generous gift of $2 million. Others like Barker Road MC had also promised interest-free loans.

Wesley MC to give $2m to building fund

Wesley MC’s Pastor-in-Charge, the Rev Melvin Huang, said his church “celebrates with Living Hope on the good news of God’s gift of the land” and would do its best to help raise funds for the project.

The Rev Michael Wong, Pastor of Kampong Kapor MC, who was Pastor-in-Charge of the former Tampines MC for five years between 1995 and 1999, said: “I am glad that God answers the church’s prayer for the land to build its own premises at last. I hope the church will not forget God’s earlier vision to serve in Tampines as it moves to Changi and beyond.”

Leong Weng Kam, a member of the Methodist Message Editorial Board, is a member of Wesley Methodist Church.