New café and gift shop remind us to share God’s blessings

USING FIVE LOAVES AND TWO FISH, Jesus fed a crowd of more than 5,000 people as recorded in the gospels. Fish & Loaves 2.5, a new café and gift shop on Level 3 of the ACS Sports Centre, aims to continue feeding God’s people in abundance – both materially and spiritually.

A blessing ceremony for the café and gift shop was held on Aug 16 to commit the premises and operations to the Lord. is initiative is a tie-up between the Methodist Co-operative Society Ltd (MCSL) and iDeaf-Connect Limited Liability Partnership (IDC LLP), the former seeking to develop, manage and invest in social enterprises to meet the needs of the community, and the latter with the aim of enabling deaf youths with knowledge and opportunities in entrepreneurship.

Mr John Cheong, the Chairman of the MCSL, welcomed the guests, who included staff members at the Methodist Centre and Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) campus. MCSL Board member M. Geevananthan led in an opening hymn, before Bishop Dr Robert Solomon gave a short meditation based on the text from John 6:5-14.

The Bishop pointed out words like “a great crowd” and “small barley loaves” in John’s account of the feeding of the 5,000 that revealed the “sheer impossibility” of feeding the large crowd based on the small resources they had. He also suggested that the 12 baskets of “pieces of the five barley loaves” that were left over indicated that the people broke their food to share with each other, possibly inspired by Jesus’ distribution of the food to them.

This, he said, formed a “holy rhythm of sharing in faith what God gave to us”, and he encouraged those present to continue sharing their blessings with others as they were reminded of this Biblical story through the Fish & Loaves 2.5 café and gift shop.

After the Bishop closed with a prayer of blessing and thanksgiving, a four-course tea meal was served to the guests, with onion soup, grilled fish on toast with curry sauce, fruits and soft-serve ice-cream making up the menu. e ice-cream was served excitedly by the gift shop staff, their soft-serve machine having arrived on the very day of the ceremony.

The gift shop is run by co-founder and partner Ginny Ong, a third-year student in Information Systems in the Singapore Management University. She is assisted by IT manager Steven Lu, and gift shop staff Lim Yan Yu and Poh Wan Zheng, among others. All of them have hearing impairment in varying degrees, and use simple gestures as well as lip-reading and speech to communicate with customers. Tips for fluent communication are also clearly displayed.

Apart from selling pastries, snacks and ice-cream, the shop also offers laptop computer servicing and sign language dictionaries, and aims to further expand its range of goods and services. One of its partners is the well-known local café Bakerzin, which specialises in desserts and will provide cakes and pastries for sale at the shop.

The café, run by Mr Peter Khoo and his team from the MCSL, serves Western and Chinese cuisines with a daily-varied menu and a charming pool view. It is open from 10 am to 8 pm from Monday to Saturday, and is closed on Sundays and public holidays. For enquiries, please call 6258-2596.

Grace Toh is the Assistant Editor of Methodist Message.