AVISITING American couple, Mr and Mrs William Ross Conners, gave “full marks” to the Methodist Heritage Tour.
At the end of the tour, Mr Conners, 79, a retiree, told Methodist Message: “This is the best tour I’ve ever taken, and I’ll remember it for a long, long time. It is a very interesting tour, packed with lots of moving stories about Methodism in Singapore and its early pioneers, and interesting bits about the various churches and sites we had visited.
“When we return home, I’ll tell my pastor and everybody about this Heritage Tour, about your flourishing Methodist Church in Singapore, the work you are doing, your beautiful church buildings, your Methodist Centre complex … it’s unbelievable.”
Home is Dandridge, about 50 km east of Knoxville, Tennessee, where he and his wife, Elva, live. They worship in the First United Methodist Church of Dandridge, a small country church, and he was astounded to learn that Wesley Methodist Church has more than 5,000 worshippers every Sunday.
“I work with the poor children and children of single parents, teaching them, taking them on excursion trips, collecting clothes for them, and so on. This is our ministry to these children.”
Ms Roselyn Supramaniam, a systems analyst, and a member of Wesley Methodist Church for the last 20 years, found the Methodist Heritage Tour “very beneficial”. She was pleased she had rescheduled her appointments so that she could come for the tour.
She said “For the older church members on this tour, I suppose it’s a trip Down Memory Lane. For the younger ones, it throws up a challenge to them to continue carrying the torch of faithfulness to the Methodist Church, and to continue doing the work of the local pastors and lay leaders of the past who made sacrifices for the growth of the church.”
Her fellow church member, Ms Debbie Lee, said she found the tour “very interesting and enlightening”.
“I have been a member of Wesley Methodist Church for 20 years, and yet today I was able to learn some interesting things about my church which I had never known before.
“For example, I didn’t know the significance of the red ceiling of our church until it was explained that the red ceiling signified the blood of Jesus,” added the trainer at Nanyang Polytechnic’ School of Engineering.
Miss Shirlaine Lim, of Aldersgate Methodist Church, said the tour was very educational. “It was an enrichment, and it has given me a sense of rootedness.
“I’ve been a Methodist for years, and I didn’t realise how shallow my knowledge of Singapore’s Methodism was until I came for this tour. I’ve learned so many things from this tour; it was an eye-opener. I’m so glad I came,” added the management support officer of a children’s centre.
Mrs Sally Seow, of Paya Lebar Methodist Church, said: “I’ve been a long-time Methodist, but there are things of the past that we sometimes forget or don’t know about, and this tour helped us to remember the missionaries and leaders of the past who had sacrificed and given so much of their time to our Methodist Church.
“They had given so much of their lives to the church, and now we have a rich heritage.
“The tour also helped us to see and better appreciate the work done by our churches in the three Annual Confer-ences. We work under different circum-stances and different cultures with different languages as we come from different Conferences, but we see all of us working together, united in Christ.”