Every anniversary is a chance to reflect on what has come before, and on where we are now. The passage of another year in COR’s life is no different from the ones before, except that this year, we’ve reached our 40th anniversary. For many Christians, the number 40 is significant. The earth was flooded for 40 days and 40 nights. Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai in God’s presence, while Israel wandered for 40 years in the wilderness. Our Lord fasted for 40 days in the desert before the start of his ministry, and then spent 40 days amongst his disciples after his resurrection. The number symbolises a season and a generation, a time of testing and a time of preparation. In this issue of CHORUS, we take time to reflect on what the last 40 years have meant for COR. We do this through the very people who make COR what it is. We put the spotlight here for our members in COR to share 40 stories of lives transformed across the years, of walking together as a family, of God’s unfailing mercies. Not all of the 40 stories collected are found in this issue. While the bulk of these stories are in your hands, we have also intentionally distributed some stories across our social media platforms on Facebook, Instagram, and our COR website. We hope that you would take time to discover more about our members via their stories, and piece together the amazing tapestry of lives that represents COR. We also pray that these stories might encourage you to share your own transformational stories, as we journey together towards the next 40 years! To God be the glory!
As we celebrate 40 years of our parish, I look back on the growth of the Chinese Congregation, since it branched out from the English Congregation 34 years ago in 1985. Since then, three services have been added - the Cantonese-Mandarin Service (formerly the Canto-Hokkien Service), the New Life Youth Service and the Children’s Service. Two churches were also planted by the congregation in Indonesia - the Anglican Church Karimun (Tanjung Balai) and the Revival Anglican Church (Tanjung Pinang).
These are a testament to God’s hand in leading and blessing us. As it is written, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” (Ps 127:1, ESV). In all things, God has worked through the faithful and obedient among us. On behalf of the Chinese Congregation, I would like to express our gratitude to the brothers and sisters who have served. They include Rev. Huang Hui Jen, the first senior pastor in charge of the Chinese Congregation; Brother Tan Song Huat, who set up the Mandarin worship service; and Brother David Tham (now Honorary Preacher), among others. “40 years” carries deep spiritual significance in the Bible. This especially so, when we study Moses’ life, which can be divided into 3 phases of 40 years each. It took 40 years from the time Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt to when he prepared them to enter the land of Canaan. Hence 40 years can be considered a generation or a milestone in life. For us, the newly ordained fifth Vicar Rev. David Lee can be likened to Joshua, when he became leader of the Israelites. Much like Joshua, Rev. Lee is now leading the parish into a new stage of life and a new era. It is his hope that the Chinese and English Congregations serve more closely together to accomplish even greater missions. Therefore, I encourage our brothers and sisters to embark on this next phase together, especially on our gospel outreach project, “Celebration of Hope”. Let us strive to win over the lost and pursue missions work as part of our “church-planting DNA”. All this also because God has called us to join the “Great Commission” and make disciples of all nations to follow our Lord Jesus Christ.
Forty is a significant number in the Bible, which often means completeness or fullness of time. For example, Jesus was tempted for 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness; it rained for 40 days and 40 nights during the Flood; the Children of Israel spent 40 years in the wilderness before entering the Promised Land. So as Chapel of the Resurrection (COR) celebrates our 40th Anniversary, we recognise that this is a significant moment in the history of our parish. The theme for our celebration “Many Stories, One Destiny” reminds us that God has assembled individuals and families from different walks of life in this church community over the last 40 years. Each of us has a story to tell - a story of God’s grace and mercy; of how God has led us to this church and why we have called it “home”; of how this family has been a blessing to us and how we now hope to bless others.
There is much to reflect on, not just individually but as a parish – Why has God founded COR? How has God shaped us? What are our hopes and aspirations in Christ? As we tell our stories as a community, let us listen for the voice of God as He leads the way forward. Many streams have now converged into a mighty river; whither will it flow?
Our founding Vicar, Canon James Wong was a man beyond his time. While still pastoring the English
Congregation of the Church of the Good Shepherd, he received a vision from God - as a ship (which he understood to be the Church) was being serviced in a dry dock, the water level rose, the chain broke and the ship sailed out. “The Church must sail out into the heartlands to share the gospel!” he thought. Inspired by this vision, Canon Wong founded five 5 parishes and 2 extension centres.
It was also during his tenure that local outreaches like the chaplaincy ministry in St Andrew’s Junior College, Sonshine Childcare Centre, Pasir Ris Family Service Centre and Commonwealth Student Care Centre were started. Innovative ways of sharing the Gospel through public performances took place in Orchard Road. Many will also remember fondly the Festival of Praise, where thousands of Christians from different church traditions gathered to worship the Lord as one people. Under his leadership, COR was at the forefront
of many such initiatives. After Canon Wong, came Canon John Benson. Under his leadership, COR developed processes for better governance and to ensure that the ministry and mission of the parish were carried out in a sustainable manner. He was also given the mammoth task of relocating the parish from Malan Road to our present site in the Diocesan Centre Building at Francis Thomas Drive. Ever sensitive to the guidance of the Spirit, it was Canon Benson who crafted the vision and mission statements with the church leaders after much prayer and paying great attention to scriptures and the various prophecies spoken over COR. Following Canon Benson’s retirement in 2007, Rev. Daniel Tong stepped into COR during a time of great pastoral need - a group of young adults had left one of our fledging young adult congregations, leaving behind a small number of worshippers. At the same time, many of the youths had grown up into adulthood but had remained with the youth ministry. Rev. Tong made the hard decision of introducing a necessary change. He brought these 2 groups of young adults together and formed Saturday Praise Service (SPS). The youth ministry was then renamed Mustard Seed Service (MSS). We praise God that SPS has grown to become a thriving congregation and has just celebratedits 10th Anniversary. Our youths have also found in MSS a community in which to grow and develop spiritually. Under Rev. Tong’s guidance and encouragement, the Creative Arts Ministry in COR also flourished.
In 2016, Bishop Kuan Kim Seng assumed the vicarship of the parish. His passion for world evangelisation was contagious and inspiring. A man of foresight and spiritual insight, Bishop Kuan mobilised COR in several strategic fronts of church missions, particularly the work amongst unreached in the region. It was also during his tenure that our first missionary family was sent out.
We want to honour all our vicars, clergymen and the different staff teams who have served under them. We thank God for the solid foundation they laid in COR in the past 40 years. Of course, we must not forget the laity. In my short one and a half year here, I have witnessed retirees availing their time to help in our childcare centre and doing missions both locally and abroad. Younger members are stepping up to serve and lead. Even the youths are coming alongside our little ones by serving in the children’s camp, engaging and encouraging them as older brothers and sisters. May this zeal for the Lord across the generations be a distinctive trait in COR for many years to come.
Indeed, as we celebrate our 40th Anniversary, many such stories will encourage and inspire us. But let us not rest on our laurels. Rather, let us lay hold of the destiny that lies before us, affirming our identity in Christ and embracing our calling as a church.
Potong Pasir, which means “cut sand” in Malay, was dominated by sand quarries in the past. During times of torrential rainfall, the area would become flooded, residents would flee to Woodsville Hill to seek refuge in St Andrew’s School and the church. Today, the residents no longer need to run up Woodsville Hill to escape the flood. Instead, the time has come for us to run down the hill to the residents in Potong Pasir to make Christ known through loving service to the community. I thank God for the pastors from the Chinese congregations of the three Anglican churches in St Andrew’s Village. Under the banner of St Andrew’s Village Community Projects (SAVCPs), they have been serving in the Potong Pasir estate for the past 11 years. In the days to come, we hope to join them in their labour.
Lastly, 2019 is the Year of Proclamation for the Church in Singapore. We have been mobilised to share our hope in Jesus with our nation. It is not a coincidence that this historic event is taking place as COR celebrates our 40th anniversary. At the start of this new phase of our journey, God is reminding us of the mission He has entrusted us – to bear witness to Christ’s love, to save souls, to seek the welfare of our city. Chapel of the Resurrection, we are living at the threshold of a new era. As we wait upon the Holy Spirit, may the Lord lead us onward to fulfil our glorious destiny in Christ Jesus.
Amongst God’s creations, only Man is “storied”. We share stories of past and present -how we come to be, who we are as individuals and communities; and stories of possible futures -hopes and dreams that God has placed in us. THE “WHAT?”: STORIES AND NARRATIVES Stories and Narratives are not quite the same. “Stories” are usually a chronological account of events, while “narratives” present key perspectives around those events. Narratives, therefore, can be used to shape thinking and lead to action-taking at community and organisational levels. For example, the Nativity story could be read simply as an account of Jesus’ birth, yet what the four gospels chose to highlight about the events surrounding it, reveal different aspects of who Christ is. THE “SO WHAT?”: OUR 40TH ANNIVERSARY CONGREGATIONAL DIALOGUE Biblically, 40 years mark a generational shift and a milestone for reflection, and as “storied” people, a series of dialogue to harvest stories of God’s impact on COR members, both individually and collectively, is apt. We begin our Congregational Dialogue series in June at our Church Camp, where or shared stories will:
• allow newer COR members to discover the considerations and decisions behind how COR started and grew;
• provide decades-serving COR members the opportunity to hear the stories of newer COR members; and
• help us as an whole church to discover the intangible resources that God has placed in his people in COR, and discern His will for COR’s future work.
When we come together in Dialogue and Story, we connect the individual to the collective narrative. During the traditional Passover meal, Jewish families all over the world tell and discuss the Passover story, eat and drink symbolic foods, and in doing so, transmit both cultural knowledge and the individual’s connectedness to God’s monumental rescue of His people, to even to this day. Beyond reflection, Dialogue and Story helps communities and their leaders collectively identify core actions that can be undertaken together, as God continues to reveal His purpose for the church. In Acts 6-11, we see how dialogue helped the early church overcome the challenges of growing together in community, embracing the cultural differences of Jewish and Greek/Gentile believers, and responding to God’s leading in individual and collective ways. Through dialogue, the minds of leaders and people were renewed and expanded, and they emerged
more integrated than before the events in Chapter 6. I have puzzled over how in the early sections in Acts, that the apostles and Jewish believers were still struggling with the idea of Jesus saving the world and not just the Jews. Not only had Jesus clearly indicated his mission to them, they had even witnessed Jesus’ Great Commission statement and his dramatic ascension! Perhaps it is the dominant Jewish narrative from the time of the Diaspora that had them collectively focus on a search for an earthly Messiah, rather than what God Himself had in mind for His people and the world. Perhaps
this traditional narrative could account for their initial difficulty in accommodating the different cultural aspects of being a gentile Christ follower and a Jew. Sadly, while narratives can allow us to expand our experience when we allow ourselves to access new perspectives from other people, not doing so can also limit our vision and perspectives. Like looking only for an earthly Messiah of the Jews, we can overlook God’s larger purpose when we create a shallow narrative of who we are, how we relate to others, and how “we” might reach God’s purpose; or when we just keep echoing a narrative with those who share a history with us, rather than listen to and include those whose different narratives might provide another perspective that would stretch our understanding and experience of Him
THE “SO WHAT?”: HOW YOU CAN PARTICIPATE At our first Congregational Dialogue in June, we will focus on our stories of
• how we came to faith,
• how we came to COR,
• our personal high points and turning points, and
• COR’s high points and turning points leading up to the present.
On 24 August 2019, our Dialogue’s focus will shift to our sensing of where God is leading us a individuals and as a church, which will allow us to make choices and own the shared future God has purposed for us. This will lay the foundation for a post-40th Anniversary COR Narrative for our next generational milestone. Finally, we will have a smaller dialogue session for clergy and ministry leaders, to review the collected stories and data emerging from the 2 prior dialogue sessions, and piece together the collective strengths and aspiratios of COR members. This group will draft an action plan based on the data, and bring it back to the people for input, before leading us in the next concrete steps into our shared future. The details for the dialogues will be made available as the dates near. You are invited to join the dialogues however you are able to and bring your stories of your past, present and future to share with us, that we may grow together in God’s purpose for us.
I started serving in Sunday School when I was 17 at the Church of the Good Shepherd’s Chinese congregation. There was a need, and even without experience or much knowledge I became the teacher to a group of active 12 year olds. Later on, when I had settled in Chapel of the Resurrection (COR), I joined the Sunday School ministry and assisted more experienced teachers, mainly in the kindees section. After I had my own kids, I continued to serve as I felt that I should be involved in contributing to their spiritual growth too. If as a mother I did not make the effort when I could, then who else could I expect to fulfill that role? My thanks to the many teachers who had served unreservedly in COR in the past – Phyllis Lim, Florence Aw, Peck Lian, Stella Tay, Grace Khoo, Tong Wei Ling and Brenda Zhou, to name a few, and to those who are in the ministry now. With the exception of a few years I took to raise my kids and handle other involvements, the Lord has kept me returning to the children’s ministry. One reason is because I have a special love for children. I find young children fascinating and always evolving in the way they learn. Another reason is because the need for teachers is always present.
A few years ago in a study of Ezekiel (Eze 3:17), I learnt that believers have a role as a watchman for the people of God. I realised that our role as Sunday School teachers was important as we served as watchmen for the children who passed through our ministry. Similarly, as parents we are also watchmen for the children the Lord blesses us with. I often feel inadequate for the task set before me, and more so as age catches up. But then I am reminded of what the Apostle Paul said in 2 Cor 3:5-6, that our competence comes from God. I believe He will make us adequate for the task He calls us to do. COR has been an important part of mine and my children’s life journeys. The friendships formed through the various ministries and especially my cell group have been very integral to my development, growth and maturing process. I am very blessed and happy to be a member of this God fearing and Bible-teaching church.
As a student at St. Andrew’s Junior College (SAJC), Eileen Ang, 18, got to know about Chapel of the Resurrection (COR) through the SAJC Mentors Programme in 2017. Eileen attends the Mustard Seed Service and has joined the SAJC Mentors Programme.
The SAJC Mentors Programme comes under COR’s SAJC Chaplaincy, to care for the College’s community through engagement in character development and sharing the love and good news of Jesus Christ. Our Mentors are actively involved in the school’s activities e.g. CCAs, Overseas Community Involvement Projects and Chapels, and are an important link between the students and church.
When I was a student at St. Andrew’s Junior College (SAJC), I befriended the mentors, Krist Ng and Chloe Ng. I always look forward to the school’s Chapel sessions because I love singing worship songs. I did not know what worshipping God was, but the songs just sounded good to me! My second year at JC was really tough. I had to face many academic setbacks and I also found my relationships with family, friends, and teachers difficult. I didn’t know who God was, but I just prayed out of desperation to God to help me deal with my situation, and I genuinely felt that I had received answers from Him through my prayers. One day, while trekking at MacRitchie reservoir with Chloe and a mutual
SAJC friend, I overheard them talking about some activities at church. I took a step of faith and asked Chloe if she could bring me to church. I felt then that, “If I’ve already heard from God and experienced His love first hand, how could I say that He is not real and push Him away?” That was how I attended COR for the first time in June 2017, which was also the youth pastor handover ceremony. I remember feeling super afraid of attending church without any friends accompanying me, but the Mustard Seed Service (MSS) community really made me feel very welcomed as a newcomer that day, engaging me fully in their activities. Even though I was brought up in a Buddhist family, with my strict dad uptight about me initially attending church, I decided to keep coming to church weekly because I felt MSS’s genuine welcome. My cell group, El Kanno, and its leaders, Eunice Khoo and Kevin Chew, are my strong support pillars and guides on my young Christian journey. In February 2019, I returned to SAJC as a mentor in the very same SAJC Mentors ministry that befriended me as a student. Honestly, I had never considered mentoring at all! My thinking was, “Aiyah, 6 months is just too long! I can do many things instead leh!”, but God spoke through many people during the 2018 Youth Camp that I attended, to give back and impact someone else’s life the same way I was touched by my mentors. So I prayed really, really hard and asked God, “Is this really what you want me to do?” And God answered me through a song: “You will never fail me.” With that confirmation, I joined on the SAJC Mentors Programme, and I am super grateful to serve and do God’s work in SAJC! All praise to God!
I joined Chapel of the Resurrection (COR) in August 2016 through the Alpha programme. Alpha was a program for both believers and non- believers to find out more about the Christian faith in an informal setting. When I was invited to participate in Alpha, I thought it was perfect as I was then seeking answers about my purpose in life. Through Alpha, I joined Agape cell group, which later merged with Logos cell group. At Logos, I grew spiritually under the cell leadership of Daniel Lau. Apart from my cell group, I also made friends from different cell groups, such as Joshua cell group, where my two mentors, Ang Seng Yang and Zhuang Jing Dong, are from.
I found the experience of having guides and mentors helped me understand God better. I am currently serving in the Welcome, Creative Arts, and Children’s Ministry. Likewise, the leaders in these ministries also guide my Christian growth. Another spiritual growth opportunity for me was to go on mission trips to Cambodia, which allowed me to see God’s love.
My lowest point as a Christian is in October 2018, when my mother passed away. I felt like I had lost my purpose and that my prayers were in vain. I had prayed fervently for my mother’s salvation, healing, and recovery when she met with an accident in 2002. When I turned to faith in 2016, I questioned why God had not answered my prayers. I also had a lot of doubts. With the support from the COR community, my mentors, and cell group, I began to understand that God’s ways are greater than our ways. While I may not understand His plans at that point in time but in knowing that God is Holy and good, I can trust Him even in difficult times. Perhaps in my mother’s passing, she experienced salvation from her physical pain of being bedridden, and in doing so, be granted eternal life through our Lord. accident in 2002. When I turned to faith in 2016, I questioned why God had not answered my prayers. I also had a lot of doubts. With the support from the COR community, my mentors, and cell group, I began to understand that God’s ways are greater than our ways. While I may not understand His plans at that point in time but in knowing that God is Holy and good, I can trust Him even in difficult times. Perhaps in my mother’s passing, she experienced salvation from her physical pain of being bedridden, and in doing so, be granted eternal life through our Lord.
I yearn to see COR continue to grow spiritually as a house of God, and to be as welcoming to everyone as its members were to me at my first Alpha session. I also hope that COR continues with its drama productions for our festivals, and have activities and programmes that engage all our members, from children to youths and adults, so that we can see the extent of God’s love to us. I pray that we continue to worship and glorify our great Lord, as we serve Him together!
Our family joined the Chapel of the Resurrection (COR) Chinese Congregation in 2013. At that point in time, my parents-in-law were already existing members of COR. My mother-in-law often shared her testimonies and the word of God with us. Then, we knew that God existed but never did take the initiative or the step forward to open our arms to welcome Him into our lives. However, the turning point came when my father, who was diagnosed with cancer, suddenly decided to accept God into his life, after more than 70 years of being a free-thinker! From that day on, our lives changed for the better. We were deeply touched when Rev. Lee Kong Kheng and many COR members kept our family in their prayers and supported us throughout the entire journey until my father passed away in the last quarter of 2013. They treated us like family and this touched our hearts. We decided to learn more about God and eventually joined COR.
Every single memory with COR has been wonderful and I do not have any particular favourite. I always look forward to attending our church camp with my family every year. I really enjoy being able to take a break from the rigours of life in Singapore to spend a few days completely immersed in the presence of God. It is also a great opportunity for me to interact with the other members and learn more about them on a deeper level. Not to mention, every single year, the church camp committee never fail to choose amazing locations and bless us with yummy food!
I believe that every single individual in COR has impacted me greatly in one way or another. Seeing how everyone gives their best to serve the Lord never fails to encourage me to be a better person. My wish for COR is for everyone to remain steadfast in their love for God and to spread His love to more people out there. COR is family. I love how closely knitted everyone is and how much I feel at home whenever I go to church!
In 1985, I accepted Christ into my life after hearing The Four Spiritual Laws outside the National Library. Shortly after, my classmate, Janice invited me for Sunday service in Chapel of the Resurrection (COR). I remember COR in its former location on Malan Road. I have fond memories of the Sunday school classrooms, St Andrew’s Junior College Auditorium, Loke Cheng Kim Hall (where we stacked chairs and sat for Diocesan Lay Training examinations), the baptism pool in the Sanctuary and the carpeted basement with a small pantry.
Those were the formative years of my faith. I am thankful for devoted Sunday school teachers like Uncle Hwa Chiang, and passionate youth leaders like Kew San, John Suan, Huah Sin and Bernard Lee. I remember praying with Youth Fellowship members, rejoicing when friends came to know Christ and discipling cell group members in Praise Fellowship, one of the youth congregations planted by COR.
Canon James Wong was our Vicar then. His love for God and firm belief in the authority of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit drove his passion for evangelism. I remember Sunday 9am bible expository classes, Tuesday night prayer meetings, lunchtime Bible studies, Easter Convention and other seminars. I remember Sunday lunch in the college’s canteen, June church camps, December Christmas outreaches and Festivals of Praise. Canon Wong made sure that church life was an immersion into learning God’s word, prayer, worship, fellowship, evangelism and exercising of our spiritual gifts. Later, I became a staff member and learnt the dynamics of church ministry from other staff. By then, Canon John Benson had become our new Vicar. His leadership and faithful service inspired me. It was a tremendous privilege to be entrusted with many opportunities to serve in God’s house. COR is my second family.
Sincere smiles greeting my family as we walk into church always warm my heart. Many members have encouraged and prayed for us, during good and bad times. I see the beauty of God’s work in the lives of people here. Like me, many have gone through trials and bear the scars of battle, but God has lifted and strengthened us so we are able to overcome our difficulties. As COR turns 40, I pray that God will give us the grace to fulfill what He wants COR to be in the coming years. Across generations of faith, we can support one another to grow spiritually and to stand firm in the face of trials. Together as one family, I hope we will be witnesses of God’s love and provision.
I started attending Chapel of the Resurrection (COR) regularly in 2004, after my marriage to my husband, who grew up in the church. Prior to that, I was an occasional visitor, as my best friend was a COR member and I was studying at St Andrew’s Junior College (SAJC).
My earliest memories of COR was attending services in the chapel with its black and white tiled flooring, and the colourful velvet banners that flanked both sides of the chapel. I have fond memories of my cell group lunching at Seah Im Hawker Centre after service. Those years spent at Malan Road were significant for me, so I was sentimental when our church had to move to its current location at St Andrew’s Village. As a cell group, we moved together with the youth service, and then “graduated” later to the Saturday Praise Service. Looking back, I can see that the move to St Andrew’s Village helped our church grow in size. I am always thankful for my cell group.
My cell mates have different personalities, but they are all generous with their time and God- gifted talents. They have weathered much with me on my life’s journey, especially when I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in August 2017. My cell group rallied around my family with prayers and notes of encouragement, and one brother even brought alkaline water for me to drink, every 2 days for over 4 months! I felt so blessed! Rev. David, Pastor Chi Shyan and Wee Lee, the pastoral team, and members of the Saturday Praise Service (SPS) congregation also prayed alongside us. A WhatsApp chat prayer group was even formed to support us through this journey. We also experienced many acts of kindness and thoughtfulness from others in the church, such as Elizabeth Woon from the Saturday children’s ministry, who offered to fetch our daughter to and from worship practice. We are so grateful for her and all who supported us.
As I was formerly from a mega- church, I felt drawn to the warmth of COR’s congregation size. When I was in the youth service, it seemed that everyone knew everyone; new joiners were welcomed and quickly integrated. This same culture is also in SPS. Although SPS’s congregation size has increased, it still remains cosy, with people looking out for and supporting one another. This is strongly reinforced and modelled by the leadership and pastoral team in the church.
As COR celebrates its 40th anniversary, my hope for the church is that this culture of encouraging one another in our walk with Christ continues. As we move forward, let’s ensure that no one gets left behind. Happy 40th COR and may the Lord’s favour continue to shine on you.
To lead worship in church is truly an honour and a privilege. It is an opportunity to use the gift of singing to serve God and His church. For me, it was a special calling, which was given to me in a vision when I was 17 years old, and so it has taken many many years to come to fruition. When God led me to His church at COR, He brought me to a cell group where many served in the Worship Ministry. Shortly after, I was roped in to serve as a vocalist. It was later on, in the last 10 years, that I served as a worship leader.
I remember the many occasions where I stood on stage as a vocalist, wiping away tears because of the touch of God. At times, I would sense His sweet visitation upon the church, His amazing holy presence. At other times, I would hear Him say that all would be well when there was a burden on my heart. Even as I recall those times, my heart fills up with awe and gratitude. I would reject dinner invitations the Saturday evenings before leading worship. It was my special time with the Lord. This time with the Lord was not to be missed as I believe that when we come together corporately to worship the Lord, warfare is waged in the spiritual realm and victories are won on behalf of God’s people. It has also been our experience that when the Holy Spirit fills us, the worship takes on a far greater dimension, even when the natural musical ability may not be particularly outstanding. Worship leading had been daunting for me, but God’s anointing and leading have made it a blessed and exciting journey, with glimpses of His holiness, His greatness and His power. I thank the Lord, the church and members of the Worship Ministry for the opportunity to have served with them. It will always be a treasured memory!
Kong Wee started attending the Church of the Good Shepherd (COGS) in July 1973. The following year, the then Rev. James Wong called for COGS members to form part of the congregation of the Holland Extension Centre who met in a Holland Drive HDB flat. From a humble beginning of 12 members, the congregation grew to be about 65 strong in 1979. “The flat was bursting in its capacity” said Kong Wee. What an imagery of an abundant harvest. COR was birthed out of this pioneer house group together with Depot Road Extension Centre in 1979. The first COR service was held at the canteen of St Andrew’s Junior College in August 1979.
Indeed COR held a special place in Kong Wee’s heart. Many of his fondest moments are in COR, from his wedding to Suat Ngoh in 1982, the birth of their daughter a few years later, the baptism of his mother in 1999 and the ordination of his brother Rev. Lee Kong Kheng as priest in 2006. The latest addition is the birth of Kong Wee’s grandson, Jason in 2017. COR is his extension of family. With the highs, there come the low points too. “My lowest point was from 1998 to 2001. During that period, I was almost consumed by my job. I was working for nearly 70 hours per week. I was totally exhausted during the weekends. I completely disengaged myself from all activities in COR except the worship services and cell group meetings.” In mid of 2001, Kong Wee found spiritual strength through the newly started sunrise prayer meetings held every Saturday morning. This proved to be the turning point as he journeyed out of his valley with the COR family every Saturday on his knees.
When we asked him who in COR has impacted him the most, without a moment of hesitation, Canon James Wong came to Kong Wee’s mind. “He was my pastor for more than 27 years. I benefited greatly from his teachings. Till today, I could still remember many of the things he taught us at the 40-week Bethel Series Course (an overview of the whole Bible) back in 1974.” With his many memories of COR, Kong Wee also holds high hopes for the next generation. He recalls how in 2007, Bishop Moses Tay gave a prophecy for COR: “I sense the Lord saying, that I want to make COR a leader in revival. I plan for you, not for evil, but for good that you may know your future and your hope. Do not think of the revival of the past, because I am doing a new thing, that will blow the minds of people. I am going to do a new thing that will supersede all the past and you will rejoice...” Kong Wee truly believes that this prophecy will one day come to pass and that COR will once again be a leader in revival.
I will always remember my first visit to COR at Malan Road with my parents: We had to climb up the steps along a short hill, and Uncle Hwa Chiang and Aunty Grace Khoo were there to welcome us. When I became a teenager, I attended COR’s Youth Fellowship (YF) on Saturdays. While waiting for YF to start, my friends and I would hang out in the green-carpeted library, singing with the guitar, chit-chatting, and snacking, strengthening our bonds with one another. Aunty Kim (Kum Sook Mee) would be in the adjoining kitchen preparing snacks for us. After YF, we would play captain’s ball either at the carpark or St Andrew’s Junior College’s (SAJC) basketball courts. We played very competitively in mixed-gender teams, but it was so fun that we often invited our non-Christian friends to join our YF just to play captain’s ball! We ended Saturdays with dinner at either Alexandra or Seah Im hawker centre, or even at Swensen’s at the World Trade Centre for special occasions.
As a young adult, I joined Saturday Praise Service. In 2002, Grace Tay and I founded ‘Nomad Shuttlers’. We were both avid badminton players, but it was hard finding badminton courts to book, so like nomads, we were playing at different courts each session. It was also hard finding people to spar with initially, but the Nomad Shuttlers soon attracted members from the Sunday Worship Service and Mustard Seed Service to join in. Our shuttlers also brought their non-COR friends, and soon we had between 15 to 20 regular players. Nomad sessions were often filled with laughter, even as our members got increasingly skilled and competitive. One day, someone suggested having a friendly match with another church’s badminton group. We heard rumours that they were not good and confidently thought we would win easily, only to lose to them when we met! Nomad members each paid $5 for the use of courts, nets and shuttlecocks per session. The surplus funds were accumulated until December, to spend on a big fellowship meal, such as a memorable one we had at Ghim Moh’s Master Crab Seafood Restaurant, where we occupied 2 tables!
After 12 years, as our members’ interest in badminton waned, we merged with the St Andrew’s School alumni badminton group that plays every Sunday afternoon at the Secondary school hall. Our Nomad surplus fund that year was donated to missionary work. Growing up in COR, I’ve been positively impacted by the aunties and uncles I’ve come to know. COR is a big family who looks out for, prays for and takes care of one another. My cell group Epainos (SPS), is another “small big family”. Like families, we bond over food, even as we grow together through our cell activities. We take care of each others’ children, support one another in life’s challenges, and celebrate life’s milestones together. In 2009, when I had cancer, my cell group formed a prayer chain to pray unceasingly for me when I went through my treatments. I will never forget their love and kindness to me during my valley moments. Having grown up in COR, I hope for the church to be a place where at each stage of our life--child, youth, adult, and the elderly--we can feel a sense of belonging, where each is valued and can find opportunities to serve. I pray COR will be relevant to community and society, in active service to God, and in building up our children’s identity in Christ.
Designed in the founding years of the Chapel of the Resurrection, the blood red background of the first logo represented the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross at Calvary for the sins of all man. The letter ‘O’ in turn signified the empty tomb upon the resurrection of Christ. Finally, the descending dove evoked the image of the empowering of the church by the Holy Spirit as depicted in Acts 1:8 – “But you will receive the power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth.”
The second Chapel of the Resurrection Logo was designed in 1999. It was made up of three elements: the Letters ‘C’ and ‘R’ in a bold blue typeface, the letter ‘O’ in the shape of an orange rising sun, and lastly below them, wavy bands of blue representing water. The sun is a particularly potent symbol representing the glory of the Lord. The depiction of the sun rising declares that God’s kingdom is coming. On the other hand, the wavy blue bands represented the promise of the waters of life through baptism and the cleansing of sins when one receives Jesus Christ to be his or her personal Saviour and Lord.
The current COR logo was designed in December 2005 and incorporates different elements on a solid square design. The square base signifies the firm and proper grounding we enjoy when we are in a relationship with God. The red base represents vibrancy and life, while the contrasting orange, depicts freshness and being current with trends, social needs and times. The cross represents Christ, as well as a reminder for us to take up our own crosses and follow him. The cross on the other hand represents Christ, reminding us as well to take up our own crosses and follow him. The four faces represent the four main races in Singapore, as well as the four cardinal points (North, South, East and West) that people may be looking at the cross from. This signifies that we are all called into God’s glory regardless of who we are or where we are from. In looking towards the cross where all life and meaning originate, the faces reinforce our need to always look towards the cross in all things and for all answers. Lastly, the curvy line represents the small hill in the old St Andrew’s Junior College (SAJC) campus where COR was formerly located. The line is also a nostalgic extension of a design element from the second COR logo.
My childhood best friend, Julian, invited me to watch the Christmas carolling at Lucky Plaza in 1996. I got to know his cell group mates and started joining them. I was very surprised, yet touched when they gave me a Bible; something I secretly longed for even though I was a Buddhist. I wanted to experience that joy and passion I witnessed in their lives as I was at the lowest point in mine.
The turning point came during the church youth camp in December, 1997. I responded to the altar call and was overwhelmed by God’s presence. After the session, I sat alone at a corner feeling a sense of peace and that something in my life has changed. Despite my parents’ unhappiness and objections, I decided to be baptised. At the same time, my brother who dissuaded me from becoming a Christian came to faith when he helped my National University of Singapore (NUS) Campus Crusade (currently known as Cru) friends with translation work during their mission trip in Japan. We then tried reaching out to our parents but without much sustained efforts. However, God is faithful. My mother accepted Christ after a sharing session by our local Chinese DJ, Dong Fang Bi Li in an outreach event.
Fast forward - 2017. My mother was diagnosed with a very rare heart cancer. The initial prognosis was a remaining life span of 3 months but her condition quickly deteriorated. Mum’s dying wish was to get baptised and for my father to accept Christ. On the eve of her baptism, she nearly died and the doctors had to perform emergency procedures. My father heard her cries and was devastated. I was alone with him at that time. I wasn’t close to him and was struggling with unforgiveness for many years. However, prompted by God, I popped the question, my father not only accepted Christ but wanted to be baptised too! My parents were baptised the next day - 30 July 2017.
From then, my mother’s condition miraculously improved! Swollen body – subsided, breathing with mask - breathing normally within 2 days after her baptism. For the next 5 months, she underwent intensive chemotherapy. In January 2018, the doctor declared her cancer free!
On 23 January 2019, my father suffered a sudden massive heart attack and passed away. During the wake, I felt God’s victory instead of defeat. Everything was according to His timing – my father reconciled with God and I with him before he died. During my mother’s cancer ordeal, I cried often during worship because I knew that I didn’t deserve His mercy and grace. Yet, He did so much for my family. Indeed, His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in weakness.
On 6 February 2019, I felt a sudden pain on the left side of my chest, which left after a few minutes. This sudden pain would recur over the next 2 days. My parents and I thought the pain was likely due to stress from my heavy school workload, but we decided to have it checked out at the polyclinic anyway. The x-ray showed that my left lung was smaller than the right, and I was immediately sent to KK Hospital’s Accident and Emergency by ambulance! At the hospital, I was shocked to be told that there was a 2.6 cm air space between my lung and chest wall on the x-ray, which was diagnosed as “spontaneous pneumothorax”. After 2 days in hospital, my condition stabilised with the air space reduced from 2.6 cm to 0.9 cm. Yet, not knowing when I could go home made me concerned about missing school and keeping up with my studies. Still, I appreciated the visits and prayers of the many friends and elders from church, which strengthened my faith. I am sure that God answered our prayers and performed a miracle because on the very next day, the x-ray showed the air space between my lung and my chest wall totally gone! From 2.6 cm to 0.9 cm... and to 0 cm! Praise the Lord! I could be discharged from the hospital!
However, 10 days later in school, I felt a very heavy and painful pressure on my chest. The pain lasted for half an hour, and I began to feel breathless. The school called my mom and she brought me back to the hospital. The air space between my lung and chest wall had grown to between 8 and 9 cm--my lung had shrunk to about one- third of its normal size!
Suddenly, my condition became very critical. As a second occurrence of spontaneous pneumothorax, my doctors decided to insert a tube through my chest to drain out the air in an operation that very evening. After 4 hours of surgery, they successfully removed 2 air bubbles. When the anesthetic wore off though, the pain was quite unbearable. My parents wondered why I looked neither worried nor scared about the operation. I told them I simply felt God’s peace. I was certain before entering the operating theatre, that my life was in His Hands, and that I could trust Him with it. Although I have not fully recovered and my wounds are still painful, I have no doubt that my Heavenly Father has plans for me--‘plans for welfare and not for evil, to give [me] a future and a hope’ (Jeremiah 29:11). All thanks and glory be to God!
WERN: Having been a part of COR for a year now, I can confidently declare that it has been the best year of my 21 years. This is no mere coincidence. I have been so privileged to be on the receiving end of the Lord’s commission through Joel. Oddly enough, although Joel and I have known each other since secondary school, it was only when we were serving our National Service together did we become more than acquaintances.
JOEL: I first met Wern in secondary school but for some reason never got to know him well. I think it really was God that placed us in the same 8-man team in NS. I distinctly remember hearing Christian music playing from his bunk bed, which led me to talk to him about the faith. That led to his enthusiastic and inquisitive replies about Christianity and church. The best thing was his willingness to come for service and cell group. It really was the community that helped Wern ease in and feel at home. He would make time to attend dinners and smaller group meetups outside of service. This really encouraged me as I seemed to have been hitting many roadblocks in my personal evangelism. Now that Wern is baptised and confirmed in COR, I hope that this encourages us to never give up! Keep praying, keep sharing with your friends and family that are not yet saved. All glory to God!
WERN: Before coming to COR, I had already identified as a Christian and previously attended other churches but didn’t stick around. Joel invited me to attend MSS and I observed the lovely members of COR worshipping wholeheartedly, discussing the Word fervently, and welcoming newcomers jubilantly. Not having grown up in a family of believers, it was a bit intimidating at first, as I saw how intimate the relationships in COR were. However, that did not stop the people here from being any less hospitable or approachable. El Olam (our cell group) is simply a cool group of many different personalities who revel in bringing glory to God. This is evident from their day-to-day conversations and their service in the various ministries. Over the past year, I have forged many wonderful friendships and taken great strides in my walk with God, guided by my fellow COR mates who refuse to be content with mundane matters. Instead, we spur each other on in praising and trusting the infallible God, zealously declaring our faith and sharing the word of God. I am beyond glad to say that I have been baptized and confirmed in COR, and I eagerly await to make many more memories.
I was studying in St Andrew’s Junior College (SAJC) at Malan Road in 1994. Thus, when I wanted to attend a church, going to Chapel of the Resurrection (COR) was the natural choice. COR even had a Youth service which suited me. Jonathan Wong, the Youth Pastor, got my co-curricular activities (CCA) friend and I to start a cell comprising our basketball teammates and friends. As a cell, we joined Praise Fellowship led by Joshua Sudharman when it was formed. I was with Praise Fellowship until I became an SAJC Mentor in 2000.
I have many good memories in COR, such as moving chairs and potted plants in Loke Cheng Kim Hall in Malan Road, selling magazines for Festival of Praise, going for cell meetings at the prayer room right after my flights with luggage and all, just to listen to Ian Chew sharing enriching bible studies. Pastor Choi Foong and Pastor Chi Shyan were great examples of leadership to me as a growing Christian. I have had great ministry partners too; the late Doreen Tan in dance ministry, and SAJC mentors of different batches. Those were days God sent me friends that I could keep for a lifetime.
However, a leadership change 11 years ago brought about major changes in church, leading to the sudden departure of many of my peers in Praise Fellowship. We then merged what was left of Praise Fellowship with the then Youth service, and that abrupt disruption, in my opinion, is still felt today. Despite that low point for me, my life was positively impacted by many COR leaders. Pastor Joshua took serious effort in making us disciples; Canon James Wong demonstrated true visionary leadership; my lifelong confidante Elyse Tay stuck through hardships with me. The person who influenced me most is Canon John Benson. He not only taught godly wisdom and tireless prayer, but demonstrated his teachings in his actions. Under his prayerful leadership, I witnessed true shepherding, as his wisdom stemmed from his prayer life. Canon Benson’s wife, Anita, was the quiet unimposing figure who watched over me through the difficult days of rebuilding the Praise congregation. My wish for COR is that we truly reflect God's shepherding nature in the way we care for His sheep. We need to be led by His Spirit, in being truthful and authentic, instead of relying on our own intellectual efforts when we serve in church ministries.
I grew up in a Buddhist family. Whenever I fell ill or sat for school examinations, my family would head to the temple to pray and bring some talismans home: either to burn and drink the ashes with water, or to carry with me as protection. One day, my friend invited me to church. I thought, “There’s nothing disadvantageous for me to go; perhaps I should take a look and see if church is what i imagine it to be.” I was sorely disappointed because the service was held in a junior college auditorium, the airconditioning was uncomfortably cold and the whole service was in English. I could not understand a word. I would have left earlier if not for the worship songs that sounded quite attractive to me. A few weeks later, my friend invited me to church again. I rejected his invitation but changed my mind after he told me that there would be Mandarin translation headsets provided. From then on, I began attending church more regularly.
One night, I had a dream. A huge idol appeared before me. Suddenly, a beam of light appeared and covered the idol. Then a man in white clothing appeared. I was curious and started to walk towards him; but he walked away from me. The faster I moved towards him, the faster he moved away from me. He kept matching my pace and I could not catch up with him in the dream. Amazingly, 3 days later, I had the same dream again. I saw the man in white and I tried but could not catch up with him. This time, he vanished. A hand appeared and handed me a book before I woke up.
On Sunday morning, I bumped into a neighbouring sister from the English congregation and she invited me to attend service that morning. I do not know why I agreed even though I had already arranged to go to work. When I got to work the next day, my colleague exclaimed, “You must thank your Lord Jesus!”. The truck that I used for work had met with an accident the day before, and all passengers had been injured with some even being thrown out of the truck! I was thankful that if God had not sent ‘an angel’ who brought me to church, I would have ended up in the accident as well.
One day, I noticed an announcement in the church bulletin. There was a baptism scheduled on 25th July. This intrigued me because that date fell on my birthday. It seemed like God wanted me to be baptised, even though I was reluctant and had refused earlier opportunities. I struggled to make a decision. When that day arrived, I made up my mind and headed for baptism. Immediately after getting out of the water, I slipped and fell onto the changing room floor. I knew in my heart why that had happened. I remembered that before my baptism, I was still carrying a Buddhist amulet. Knowing that it was no longer right to possess an amulet, yet not knowing what to do with it, I had thoughtlessly thrown it onto a grassy patch nearby. Now it seemed, to me, that the devil was getting back at me for throwing the amulet away. Nonetheless, I thank God for His protection because I was not hurt from the fall.
When I was growing up, I often suffered from sore throat and nose bleeds. Customarily, no matter walking, sitting, standing or sleeping, a bloody handkerchief was never far from me. Yet ever since my baptism, I have felt different. I have not had a nose bleed since! I believe that Jesus has taken on all my weaknesses and infirmities. If not for my friend, and the neighbouring sister, who boldly invited me, I would never have stepped into church. I have been newly created - the old has past and the new has come! Thank You, Jesus! All glory to God!
Jenny was invited to Chapel of the Resurrection (COR) by Rachel Ang in 2006, and attended her first Praise Fellowship Camp. She joined COR because she felt so welcomed and well taken care of. Michele had left COR earlier on, but because of a telephone call by Jermaine Toh in reaching out to her, she returned to COR in 2008.
Proverbs 27:9 “..the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice”
We were placed in the same cell group, but despite leadership and cell structural change, we got to know each other better. Being in the same stage of life helped draw us closer. As singles, we enjoyed our life together in girls’ fellowship and parties. But it was not all frivolity- -we also shared our struggles and disappointments, as much as we encouraged and prayed for each other too. Praying and waiting for a life partner at that time seemed like the most difficult prayer for God to answer. God’s first wave of blessing came in the form of Joshua Gian, who became Jenny’s boyfriend. Meanwhile, Michele was still waiting, and she wondered if God had forgotten her. Jenny had faith and encouraged Michele that God will answer--“it is going to be a matter of months.” Indeed, Jenny married Joshua in November 2010 and Michele married Alvy Lau in October 2011, a difference of 11 months!
Hebrews 3:6 “But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.”
If the wait for a life partner was tough, our wait for children was even longer and more torturous. We prayed and cried along with our friends and cell group. It was especially painful for the both of us when we miscarried one after the other. We even thought of giving up waiting for a child, reasoning that perhaps that wasn’t God’s plan for us. But we remembered and reminded each other how God had blessed us in our struggle for a life partner, and continued to hold on to hope.
Miraculously, both of us had a baby girl each, one year apart. We are thankful to God for all His blessings. We foresee challenges ahead, but God has blessed us with the gift of friendship, allowing us to press on along life’s journey, supporting and encouraging one another.
AUTHORITY OF THE CHURCH
After a couple of years, the leader of the extension centre wanted to go independent but Chee Har chose to return back to the main church. She attributed this decision to being raised by God- fearing parents in the deep faith they have and the Anglican traditions. She knew in her heart that she needed to submit to the authority of the church. Chee Har shared that she appreciates the Anglican form of worship which is focused and enriching. It incorporates liturgy, prayer and even the giving of tithe as active forms of worship.
CANON JAMES WONG
Throughout the interview, Chee Har often expressed her appreciation for Canon James Wong and still do. Having known him for a long time, she knew of Canon James Wong and his wife, Esther Wong to be warm and encouraging leaders. Even though there were times in the past she struggled as a cell leader, Canon James Wong would listen to her and allow her room to make her own decisions.
STRENGTH FROM GOD
“My philosophy of life is to be positive, to make good of whatever that comes my way.” Back in Nov 2017, this statement of faith will stand its ground in Chee Har’s life when her husband, Wooi Mau fell seriously ill. “I didn’t question God but I questioned the doctors about what really happened and why. A virus that does not affect the brain affected him. They couldn’t give me an answer and I accepted from God that it is part of what God is bringing me through.” Chee Har is grateful for the clergy and COR community who rallied behind them in prayers and also those who came to visit Wooi Mau.
Seeing our loved ones lose their mental and physical faculties is a very painful thing. However, Chee Har saw not the loss but the gains. She received strength from God through the prayer intercession of the church and seeing the slow but steady progress Wooi Mau made in his recovery. From not being able to open his eyes, or to smell or taste food or to swallow, Wooi Mau eventually regained these abilities. That is God’s mercies, renewing his brain cells.
Listening to her honest and heartfelt sharing of her story, we cannot help but be encouraged by her steadfast posture in her walk with God. Prior to this interview, she prayed for a word of encouragement from God to COR, a community whom can depend on throughout the various seasons of her life. This is found in 1 Thessalonians 1:3. “The work of faith, the labour of love and the steadfastness of hope. This is my hope for COR that this truth will be embraced by everybody and it will become a part of COR itself.”
I was only 17 years old when I joined COR. Back in 1980 when I was in SAJC, Canon James Wong was looking for an organist, and he found out that I could play the organ. So he told me I had to play for COR, which has been my home church ever since. I attended my first youth camp in Dalvey Estate in Dec 1981. It was the first time I attended a camp where the fellowship was warm and there was so much care and affection for one another. It was the first time I saw the true meaning of fellowship and understood what Christian communion and community was. I witnessed how servant leadership was lived out by the leaders in the camp.
19 years later, I was diagnosed with kidney failure and after four years of enduring peritoneal dialysis, I received a transplant with a kidney donated by my wife, Joanne. Throughout that long and painful journey of illness, God never gave up on me and surrounded me with friends who have remained my cheerleaders through the years. Canon John Benson brought me into the Parochial Church Council (PCC) back in the late 90’s with the purpose of engaging more young people in the PCC. He personally mentored me in areas of church governance and also in matters of God’s Word.
There are so many people in COR who have had an impact on me, but I would like to specially mention John Suan. John gave me a close- up view of what faith and pastoral care looked like. He was exceptional in that he would walk the talk and modelled what living faith was. He showed me first-hand what obedience and self-sacrifice looked like. He lived it out in the way he sacrificed in coming to Singapore straight after his graduation instead of staying on in the US to work. I vividly remember him sharing how, through faith, he heard God’s call for him to come to Singapore as a missionary after his graduation. The organisation that sent him here ran out of funding in less than a year while he was in Singapore, but he believed that this was where God had called him to be. I saw how he remained steadfast to that vision and after a season of trials, the Lord opened doors for him and he started a career in healthcare management.
I remember after going through a very difficult kidney transplant operation, I woke up to see my wife and John surrounding me on the hospital bed. I was in a lot of discomfort and he would come in the evenings and massage my feet to help with the circulation. That image of him massaging my feet when I was too weak to move will always stay etched in my mind. John Suan walked with me through one of the most difficult periods of my life; when everything went wrong after my kidney transplant in 2003. Together with my wife, Joanne, he never gave up hope and stood by me. I treasure the friendships I have forged in COR over the past 40 years and look forward to COR becoming a church that will have the courage to fulfil the unique calling that God has set for it.
I hope that as a church, we will always hold steadfast to the values and principles defined in the Word of God. At the same time, I hope we will have the courage to break the mould in the way we manifest these values and principles in our daily lives, in our fellowship, in our evangelism and in our worship. We need to understand that society keeps changing. Work life, family life, education and leisure transform and result in new aspirations, opportunities, fears, stresses, and pressures spanning across all age groups. This will affect the way we engage within the church, as well as the way we reach out to the community. We need to be able to adapt to these changes without compromising the biblical values and principles that we must live by.
My personal wish for COR is that it will be able to conceptualise and build a new model for society for the next decade. May we be a church that manifests Christ’s hope, love and fellowship from our youngest to oldest members, and in so doing, inspire others to come to COR to find hope, comfort, peace, and most of all, eternal life.