The Robbie family all made it to church together this afternoon, for the 4pm English Language service at The Church of the Good Shepherd, Queenstown, Singapore. We made the mistake of trusting Google Maps to guide us there by foot from the MRT Station, so walked a sweaty circular route, past a Baptist church, primary school and a couple of HDB apartment blocks before ending up at the church, 200 yards from our starting point! Rev Jonathan Wong used our failure as an illustration for the need to raise the profile of the church in the community. The way the church plans to make itself more visible (amongst other reasons) is to demolish the vicarage in the church compound and replace it with a multi-storey worship centre.
Holy Trinity West Bromwich can’t be seen from neighbouring streets either. I wonder what the Diocese would think if I proposed knocking down the vicarage and building a multi-storey worship centre which would be visible from the M5? Just in case you’re wondering, this is not a proposal.
The service was fantastically familiar, the Singapore Service Book 1995 follows the ASB. I spoke on Luke 5, “Leave your nets to win the nations.” Probably two sermons worth of material as I preached Christ from the OT (Gen 1:28, Isa and Jeremiah 16) and then what it meant for Peter to leave his nets (Acts 10, 1 Peter 1:1 and 2 Peter 1:1). I hope the congregation found something useful.
After the service we had fellowship in the open air, just as we had done in Sydney last Sunday. This is a very good way of being more visible to the community. Our refreshments could be served in the church yard at Holy Trinity when the weather allows (about three Sundays a year).
Jonathan and his family, who we knew well from our days in Singapore, took us out for banana leaf, and we were joined by Jonathan’s parents. Canon James Wong is retired now. He and I once shared a taxi and he gave me some advice as I was about to head home to the UK to begin training for ordination. He said “Neil, never be afraid to be generous with the resources God has given you. Shovel as much as you can into ministry, release your best people and give all you can. As you shovel these things out, God will shovel them in and God has a bigger shovel.” I told him that I had always remembered this, but not that I have occasionally quoted him in sermons. We spent the evening exchanging stories of national and church life in Singapore and the UK.
It has been a good day. Thank you Lord.