Wednesday, December 16, 2009
GOODBYE CHRIST CHURCH!
- THE LORD IS WITH CHRIST CHURCH IN WAYS BEYOND HUMAN UNDERSTANDING-
We returned to Singapore in June 2007 to be with our son Elijah; he had finished high school in Bolivia and had to, by law, do a 2 year national service stint with the Singapore armed forces. During this period I was asked to pastor CHRIST CHURCH, a parish in the diocese of Singapore. By God's grace I finished my stint in Singapore at the parish and made plans to return to Bolivia.
Vicars wrestle with mixed feelings as they leave Parishes under their charge. Relief from the pressures of leading God's people is intertwined with the pain of leaving new found friends . In Latin America its impossible to serve in a church and not make friends. Some of this spilled over into my work at CHRIST CHURCH.
My experience in the parish was tough but also rewarding. People were challenged to evangelise the lost, a full time pastoral team was put in place; a small congregation dedicated to outreach was started; working with the young people was fulfilling. Not meeting all the needs of the parish was a humbling experience. Christ uses others to reach out to those whom we could never connect with. Maybe its also sobering to remind ourselves that Clergy cannot meet everyone's needs. Only a well trained pastoral team can come close to fully meet the challenges of modern day city-based parishes with diverse needs.
CHRIST CHURCH, a traditional Parish, has many levels of leadership. Anyone called to serve as Vicar will have to seek the Lord for Solomonic wisdom as he puts together the various pieces of the leadership puzzle. Uniting the work of the Church council, the pastoral team and the ministerial leadership without trampling on the sucesses of the past requires vision and hard work.
I wish I could have done more for the parish but it was time for me to move on. The Bolivian church, in the face of great challenges, also made an appeal to the Bishops of Singapore for me to return to Bolivia.
Friendships were made and leaving Christ Church was never easy.
I continue to pray for them to mature in Christ as they reach out to various the groupings within a growing and vibrant Tamil community in Singapore.