“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.”
Sharing all our possessions with one another, while seeming rather far-fetched in our present-day context, was exactly what Christians did in the early days.
It is this spirit of radical living, as described in Acts 4:32, and defined by John Wesley’s dictum – “Yea, while you have time, do all the good you can unto all men” – that inspired the birth of Methodist Co-operative Society Ltd (MCSL) in 1995, under the auspices of the Council on Christian Social Concerns, to carry out the Methodist goal of being a Christian enabler of social justice.
The Co-operative started with 30 members. Mr Reginald Lim, Chairman of MCSL, said: “Our services are primarily for the benefit of our members and Methodist institutions in Singapore. Our members, who number 800 today, enjoy holistic benefits that address various needs like insurance, recreation, bereavement support, education, event planning and so forth.”
Ensuring the well-being of our members is a key component of the Co-operative. We do this through the Common Good Fund. This Fund is made up of a portion of the surpluses from the various businesses that the Co-operative runs.
Insurance coverage, as well as recreational, educational and social programmes are funded by this Common Good Fund for the benefit of members. The Fund is managed by the Common Good Fund/Membership committee which will also be looking into meeting the needs of special interest groups in areas such as cooking, baking, travelling or teaching, with the intention of empowering passionate members to spin these interests into commercially viable social enterprises. Being part of the co-operative movement encourages fellow Methodist members to serve the Methodist community and the public at large.
Over the years, MCSL has honed its vision and mission of being a premier co-operative society that is based on biblical values. To this end, it continues to develop, manage and invest in social enterprises, making steady progress in its range of services to meet the needs of the community at the right place and the right time.
The first milestone was the opportunity to provide affordable daily meals to residents at Bethany Methodist Nursing Home and later at Christalite Methodist Home. Professional medical services were added to complement these institutions. The Co-operative has run a cafe as well as convenience store managed by the hearing-impaired, in part as social enterprises. At this point, it continues to explore other opportunities in an on-going effort to fulfill its vision. One of our most well-known and established services is the subsidiary that we set up – Hosanna Bereavement Services Pte Ltd – a one-stop place for bereavement and funeral-related services to Christian families. More than just delivering a service, the social enterprise also provides compassionate ministry to bereaved Christian families when their loved ones depart. Under-privileged families are offered subsidised rates, and we went the “extra mile” with a specially-designed “Quiet Room” in our premises. This room is provided free of charge to families who cannot afford wake services.
“Yea, while you have time, do all the good you can unto all men”
Property and cleaning services constitute another of our businesses through our subsidiary, MCSL Management Pte Ltd. This Management arm is currently the Managing Agent at two sites, including the common premises of John Wesley Centre. It is also engaged to clean members’ homes. It is currently looking into expanding to other services like security and real estate management, with the intention of providing more employment opportunities for the jobless.
In its latest foray, MCSL launched a Christian wedding planning service for busy couples who may not have the resources to plan a memorable wedding. The comprehensive service package looks into every single detail including consultation, sourcing of venue, vendor sourcing, planning and coordination.
The maxim of sharing what we have earned is truly practised at the Co-operative. Dividends have been paid out to members from our business surpluses over the past few years. Part of our surplus is also consistently donated to charities in support of their worthy causes.
The work of the Co-operative has been recognised and affirmed through the various awards it has received from the Singapore National Co-operative Foundation (SNCF). In 2013, it received a Special Commendation Medal at the SNCF Honour Awards cum International Year of Co-operatives Closing Ceremony.
Urged Mr Lim: “We want to encourage the Methodist community and fellow members to leverage on MCSL’s various services and ultimately grow our initiatives in the marketplace for His glory.”
Truly a co-operative for members, for society; “Communal Christianity” as practiced in Jerusalem; the practice as instructed in Acts 4:32 is lived out today!
Methodist Co-operative Society Ltd
Become a member
Contact Ms Sophia Wong, General Manager (Admin)
6767-1638 • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
One-stop Bereavement and Funeral-related Services for all Christian families
HOSANNA BEREAVEMENT SERVICES PTE LTD
Contact Mr Ricky Guok, Funeral Director
24-Hour Hotline: 6352-7797
Facility Management Services
MCSL MANAGEMENT PTE LTD
Contact Mr Dennis Leong, Manager
6767-1635 • Email: email@example.com
Professional Wedding Planning Services
YOU & I WEDDING PLANNER SERVICES PTE LTD
Contact Mr Ryan Toh, General Manager
6767-1635 • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictures of the breakfast event and the facility management services courtesy of MCSL
Victor Seow is a Board Member of the Methodist Co-operative Society Ltd, primarily looking after Corporate Development. He worships at Charis Methodist Church.