FES News and Updates (Sept 2021)
How Do We Uphold Our Christian Identity in Our Workplace?
The Youth Theological Forum (YTF), co-organised by the FES Chinese Work and the Chinese Work Committee of the National Council of Churches Singapore, held its third forum in the I·Disciple (I·门徒) series on 11 September at St James Church. The YTF was launched a year ago as an online forum to replace the annual Youth Theological Camp which could not be held due to the pandemic. Since then, a second online forum was held in March 2021. About 43 people attended this third and final installment in the series which focused on our vocation.
The panel of speakers each shared about their current vocations, the challenges they face in their workplace, and how they conducted themselves in their environment as Christians. Participants were assigned into small groups to discuss the question, “How do we uphold our Christian identity in our workplace?”. During the Q&A segment, participants posted questions or struggles they faced in their vocations and the speakers shared their minds and encouragement on the matter. The forum ended with Rev. Xu Fu Shun from St Matthew’s Church concluding the three-part I·Disciple.(I·门徒) series.
As I am still a student and have yet to experience working life, I was still encouraged to hear the testimonies of the speakers. When I enter the workplace that God will lead me into, I pray that I will be able to hold myself well as a good witness of Christ. I am also challenged to see myself in a different light and not undermine my role as a student. As a student, I acknowledge that God has placed me where I am to be His salt and light. In an environment that allows a certain degree of freedom in terms of choices to make, I should be mindful that what I say and the choices I make will reflect my values and character. I pray for wisdom from God in my decision makings, and that even in my struggles, I can still give Him praise.
Yong Jia En
NUS Civil Engineering Year 2
Having REALationships with God and His People
The Combined Polytechnic Christian Fellowship (CF) Camp was held over three days from 13–15 September with about 40 polytechnic students and graduates from the English section CFs in attendance. Considering the COVID-19 restrictions, we used online platforms such as ZOOM and Gathertown to interact, play games, conduct theme talks and discussions.
Our meetings were all centred around the theme of having REALationships with God and His people, as we often choose to give up one for the other. Using the book of Philemon to depict a story of reconciliation, the theme talks challenged this mindset.
Reuben Ang, our camp speaker, and the Managing Director of Hesed and Emet, the parent company of Elsie’s Kitchen, spoke to us on how the gospel inspires the way we live. This good news is that our God reigns and has made it possible that all things will be reconciled to Him. This makes us see people and situations differently. The people around us are not just ‘others’ or friends anymore, they are brothers and sisters.
I felt that this was in line with what I was feeling about community. The interactions within my community often become superficial because we see each other as one compartment of our social life. However, as brothers and sisters, we keep each other accountable in working toward a common purpose and encourage each other to take steps of faith. We forgive and sort out our differences. It is a high calling, but it is our calling. Seeing how my group mates shared how they are taking practical steps to fulfil that calling, though it may seem idealistic or impossible, encouraged me to be courageous too.
Often it is hard to relate the theme talks to real-life situations. However, hearing Reuben share about his experiences with treating his co-workers like brothers and sisters even though he runs a business, was extremely insightful. It was a testimony that there is no segregation between the Christian life and secular life as our Christian values and beliefs should shape the way and reason we work.
I pray that all the campers will be inspired to involve God in their life and reach out to others, intentionally!
Jamie Lim Jiale
Nanyang Polytechnic, Nursing Year 2
A Place to Gather and Grow
On 16 September, the Singapore Institute of Management Indonesian Students’ Christian Fellowship (SIM ISCF) held a welcome tea party for our new freshmen. This year, through our theme PPKM: Perlu Persekutuan Kristen, Men! (informal expression for ‘We need Christian fellowship!’) we long to raise awareness on the importance of meeting together with our brothers and sisters in faith. Though we had to conduct this event online due to the pandemic situation, we still managed to come together and warmly welcomed eight new members to our SIM ISCF family. We started the meeting with songs and praising God’s name. Then Ko Darryl, our staff worker, delivered a thoughtful sermon on the significance and necessity of Christian gatherings. We then continued with a semi-talk show where we invited two of our beloved alumni, Ci Ervina and Ci Agnes, to share their personal experiences of how having a family in Christ in ISCF helped them throughout their time in SIM and even currently, during their working life. Both our alumni speakers also shared their favourite memories during pre-pandemic times when SIM ISCF was still held weekly on campus and the fun they had while hanging out together.
As we, the Executive Committee, were planning for this event, we felt like we were faced with a roadblock, having to hold our welcome tea online. Furthermore, having some students in Singapore and others still spread out all around the major cities in Indonesia, we had new challenges to face. There being only minimal activities that can be done online, we also tried hard to figure out how to express a warm welcome to the freshmen despite being miles apart. At one point we were also worried that the information about this event did not spread to our freshmen. But in the end, with God’s blessings and guidance, we are very grateful that our welcome tea went smoothly. We also found out that word about this event indeed did spread! When we spoke to one of the freshmen, she mentioned that her friend was the one who invited her to register for the event.
Looking back, we are utterly grateful for how things have turned out. God listened to all our worries and uncertainties, guided us through the process, and lifted all our worries from us. Moving on, we hope that SIM ISCF will always be a place for believers to gather and grow to be rooted in Christ alone.
Jioe Clarissa Audreylia
SIM-UOL BSc. International Relations, Year 2
Pray with Us
The IFES World Student Day is happening in October. The students are planning for a day of fellowship and prayer on 16 October. Do pray for the planning committee as they connect with their fellow student movements and learn how God is at work throughout His world, and how to pray with them.
The FES Chinese Work is preparing for their Big Family Gathering on 22 October. However, meeting restrictions have tightened yet again, and it is unclear what the situation will be in the coming two weeks. Please pray for wisdom in planning, and a fruitful gathering on the day regardless of location.
This will be the second year of Covid-19 restrictions for students entering the university. I have already had several comments by students who have spent their first year of university (and poly) online. They have never had an experience of CF pre-Covid, and so questions of how CF used to be are not the most meaningful for them. Some students have felt deep pangs, wishing to meet physically and experiencing much Zoom fatigue. Please pray for resilience and sustenance through these times, but also meaningful fellowship and friendship to help each other carry on through.