Features, Highlights

Methodist Heritage Day Walk to round off 125th Anniversary joy

CAN YOU IDENTIFY this historical site? (above). And do you know what will take place here on the afternoon of Sunday, Oct 31?

This is the site of the former Methodist Girls’ School (MGS) and the former John Wesley Centre in the surrounding area of the “Holy Hill” on which stood the Methodist Centre and Trinity Theological College among other Methodist properties.

At 4 pm on Oct 31, the Methodist Heritage Day Walk will be flagged off at this site – now known as the Old School – to round off a year-long series of events to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of e Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) this year. e theme for the celebration is “Together in God’s Mission”.

The Heritage Day Walk is organised with the following objectives:

• To unite the Methodist families and to remind them to gather together in God’s mission (the theme of the 125th Anniversary);

• To rekindle our Wesleyan passion to serve the community and remind us of our rich history and heritage through a Sunday leisure walk and a series of exhibitions;

• To update our key Anniversary Community Outreach Project and launch the year-long distribution of funds to the chronically poor in Singapore; and

• To galvanise our effort in helping the poor, the destitute and the needy.

The Methodist Heritage Day Walk will be flagged off by the Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, at the Old School, site of the former MGS on Mt Sophia.

Some 3,000 members from the various Methodist churches and students from the Methodist schools will take part in the Walk.

They will be advised to select one of the three routes (2.5 km) to walk and to finish at one of the three end-points. e end-points are at Wesley Methodist Church, Kum Yan Methodist Church and Short Street Tamil Methodist Church. These churches have been selected because of their historical significance and close proximity to the starting point.

There will be designated sites with information on their historical significance along the route.

At the Old School, there will be a main exhibition displaying the rich heritage and work of the MCS through artefacts, archival and other exhibits.

Each of the three end-points will also showcase the history and mission of the MCS. The end-points will provide opportunities for the Methodist families to have fellowship.

Light refreshments will be provided by the General Conference Women’s Society of Christian Service.

Among the guests to be invited to the Heritage Day and Walk will be community and religious leaders.

The Heritage Walk participants will gather in groups at the former MGS field and corridors of buildings from 2 pm to 2.30 pm. Group leaders will collect their haversacks with drinks and souvenirs at the Distribution Centre.

All participants will be wearing specially-designed T-shirts with the MCS’125th Anniversary logo. The T-shirts will be given to them as soon as their participation forms have been received. e forms will be given out to all churches and schools in due course.

The programme for the day will begin with a Welcome Address and Thanksgiving Prayer by Bishop Dr Robert Solomon. This will be followed by a short video presentation on the Community Outreach Project, anchored by the Methodist Welfares Services as one of the main events of the celebration, the Befrienders’ programme to help the chronically poor, and the social outreach work of the MCS.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will then give his address, following which he will unveil a Methodist Heritage Plaque and flag off the Heritage Walk. He will view the Heritage Exhibition before taking his leave.

The 125th Anniversary celebration of the MCS got underway on Feb 28 when our 44 Methodist churches used a common set of liturgies at their Sunday worship services.

That Sunday also marked the launch of the Community Outreach Project, which aims to bless the chronically poor in Singapore – the bottom 10 per cent of the socio-economic ladder who subsist on an average per capita income of $350 a month. It is estimated that there are as many as 80,000 such people.

The target sum to be raised is $1.25 million, and this will be disbursed to the chronically poor, with each family getting $125 a month for a period of 12 months. is amount is able to provide help for 834 families.

The other celebratory events held so far included:

• The Wesleyan Hymn Festival at Victoria Concert Hall on May 18 and 19, which was part of Aldersgate Convention 2010. It was full house on both the evenings, and those who turned up were treated to a programme of stirring music. Dr Michael Burkhardt, an American music professor internationally known for his inspiring hymn
festivals, led the event.

• The Dialogue with the Bishop and the three Annual Conference Presidents at Paya Lebar Methodist Church on May 21. It was an opportunity for the Methodist family to interact with their own leaders and to hear from them the vision and directions of the church.

• The Combined 125th Anniversary and Aldersgate Thanksgiving Service at Paya Lebar Methodist Church on May 22. e two-hour service began with a colourful Parade of Banners by the churches, agencies and schools.

• The launch of a booklet, Methodist Milestones, to commemorate the 125th Anniversary of the MCS, at the Combined Thanksgiving Service. Written by Mr Earnest Lau, the MCS Archivist, the 32-page booklet chronicles the major milestones of the MCS from its inception in February 1885 to the present.

Col (Retd) Quek Koh Eng, an Area Director of the Methodist Missions Society, is the Chairman of the Methodist Heritage Day Committee and a member of the MCS’ 125th Anniversary Celebration Committee.