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  • Grace B-P Contributor

BPCIS UPDATE

31 December 2023

 

Photo by Markus Winkler: https://www.pexels.com/photo/scrabble-letters-spelling-the-word-update-on-a-white-table-18524162/

Finally, the year ends. We will remember 2023 for several things. India surpasses China as the world’s most populous country. Artificial intelligence makes its appearance as ChatGPT and offers both promise and peril. U.S.-China tensions continue. Wars exact heavy tolls in Ukraine and the Middle-East. Global temperatures shatter records. 

 

In Singapore, we give thanks for peace in our land, and food on our table. But we have our challenges. 

 

PLAYING MUSICAL CHAIRS

 

Two years after COVID restrictions eased, churches in Singapore are finding themselves in rounds of musical chairs. We remember this game as one when we start the music and walk around a ring of chairs. When the music stops, everyone rushes to find a seat. Because there are more people than chairs, a few will be “out” with no seat to land on. 

 

COVID got many walking around to different churches, visiting their online services, savouring sermons and checking out worship styles. The music stopped and visitors either returned to their own church and moved on to another. Some chose to stay online or else drop church altogether. As a result, churches experience a nett gain or loss. 

 

Our BPCIS churches witnessed the following this Christmas:

    Adult Baptism: 37

    Child Baptism: 20

    Reaffirmation: 14

    Transfer: 46

All in, 97 communicant members were added to our churches, together with 20 infants or children. Significantly, transfers make up the largest group of new members. Over such increase, we rejoice. However, these numbers do not tell the whole story. What about the missing ones, those who have stopped attending church, onsite and perhaps also online?

 

As good shepherds (John 10:14), our pastors and leaders will need to account for the number of sheep present or missing. As the round of musical chairs continues, let us all remember those who are “out” and help them find a chair or church they can settle in, find fellowship and grow in worship and service. 

 

OVER TO 2024

 

During the festive season, I heard a speaker remind us that Christmas is not the whole story. Indeed—it’s not true that “man will live forevermore because of Christmas day” as a popular song goes. The story continues with Good Friday and Easter Sunday when life forevermore would be accomplished by Jesus’ sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection. 

 

As the new year begins, we look forward to Good Friday when, for the first time, BPCIS churches will meet together (5.00pm) at a “neutral” venue: ACS Independent at Dover Road. Also for the first time, our Chinese-speaking congregations will meet (10.30am) at Faith BP Church at Serangoon Gardens. Transport will be provided from our churches. Watch out for details! 

 

Pastor David Wong

General Secretary, BPCIS 

 

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