Impetus (Apr 2022)
Now That We Can Regather and Reconnect
FES had its 64th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 26 March 2022 at the FES-GCF Conference Room with 68 people in attendance on-site and over Zoom. It was exceptionally heart-warming for the Council members, advisors, student delegates, graduates, and staff workers who met in person to be able to reconnect after two years of restrictions. Moving forward, we are anticipating even more opportunities to meet up and for the Christian Fellowships (CFs) to resume their activities in person.
Along with this reconnection is a redesign of the FES Annual Report to make it more accessible for you to be updated on the work of FES. I highly encourage you to read it here: https://fellowship.sg/resources/fes-publications/annual-review. While the emphasis of AGMs and Annual Reports is often about accountability, I emphasise the community and continuity as well. In that respect, this Annual Report includes campus reports by our student leaders for 2021/22. I hope this will give you insight into campus work from the student leaders’ perspective and for all of us to recognise that sense of the larger community of the FES student ministry.
From my report, I extract two future challenges for FES. The first challenge is that the future of education in the Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL) is changing rapidly. Faculties have merged, programmes have become interdisciplinary, and premiums are placed on the acquisition of new skills and competencies for the post-pandemic world. There is a critical need for staff to embrace this push of lifelong learning to continue to minister effectively to the changing demographics of students in the post-COVID generation.
The second challenge is about conviction and connection. We now have a sizable generation of students who have spent their first two years of education largely online, and whose experience of the CF is only during this pandemic setting. The common challenge across the CFs is the loss of connection between the freshmen (present pandemic), the seniors (pre-pandemic), and the larger body of the CF and FES. Yet this situation presents itself as a critical opportunity – that many students and alumni are eager to meet and catch up, and to learn what are the differences today and what can be done moving forward. Therefore, the focus is not on what is present or pre-pandemic, but on what is now the post-pandemic stage. The wider variety of ways to meet (online, on-site, hybrid) should not be seen as a false dilemma, but as more options to minister flexibly and opportunistically.
Pray with us as we seek to wisely use these opportunities to regather and reconnect. I also highlight three upcoming events to take note of and to remember in prayer.
- FES and GCF annual Staff Retreat (5–6 May): Pray for a meaningful and restful retreat as we focus on spiritual formation and team dynamics.
- Leaders Party (23–25 June): Pray that plans can be settled in time and that it works to foster a strong and shared community of student leaders for the future of God’s work.
- Graduates’ Party (9 July): Pray that new graduates can be connected to the larger fellowship of Christians in the workforce and be prepared for the next phase of life after graduation.
News and Updates
FES 64th Annual General Meeting
The recent FES Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on 26 March had an attendance of 43 people on-site and 25 people over Zoom. The meeting reelected the Rt Revd Dr Titus Chung, Bishop of the Anglican Church in Singapore as the FES President for another year. Mr Reuben Ang was elected as the new FES Council Chairperson, Mr Nicolas Kevin as Vice-Chairperson, and Mr Melvin Tan as the Honorary Treasurer.
At the meeting, Mr Reuben Ang gave the Bible exhortation based on 1 John 1:1–4. In his sharing, he reminded us to persevere in our testimony of the risen Lord, who made manifest the Word of eternal life to us. Though we come from different churches, campuses, language sections, working groups, and even generations, all of us have received the same good news of the kingdom. As we continue in this work of proclaiming the good news and having fellowship with God and with each other, we were exhorted to keep in mind the FES vision, that is, to see a community of Christlike leaders who are salt and light on campus, in the church, and in society for the glory of God.
Reports from the CFs
Here are extracts from some of the CF reports that were included in the FES Annual Report 2021. To read the full report, go to: https://fellowship.sg/resources/fes-publications/annual-review/
We returned to on-site meetings in November with the SCANDALS workshops, tackling the challenging topics of Abortion, Divorce, and Relationships between Christians and Non-Christians. The three talks were hybrid sessions held concurrently in separate venues. Though the logistical challenges were overwhelming at times, the resulting event was rewarding and helpful for the CFers. – SIM SCF
Although part-time students make up a sizable portion of the SUSS student body, the busy schedules and night class timings make it difficult to include them into the CF community … Instead of relying on the self-initiatives of part-timers to join us, the CF can play a more active role in engaging them. – SUSS CF
This year we are increasing our volunteering efforts to help the Indonesian migrant workers by teaching them computer skills or English via Bunda Network. – NTU ISCF
A programme that went well was our Christmas Advent Event … It was an eye-opener for many of us and has generated more ideas to expose the CF to practices specific to certain denominations. This will help the CF better appreciate the FES distinctive of being interdenominational. – JCUS CF
In our outreach efforts, we took the opportunity during festive occasions to invite our non-believer friends to have fun with us and simply build friendships. The highlight of the year was a gospel sharing talk in Semester 2 which was also a time to reap the seeds that we have sowed during the academic year. – NTU CCF
An area that we have not sufficiently explored is the specific application of how faith relates to our academics as well as a focus on how the student can seek out their specific mission field and initiate ways to reach out. – NUS VCF
MELT Camp 2022
The Combined Polytechnic Ministry Exposure and Leadership Training (MELT) Camp was held from 30 March to 3 April with 12 CF student leaders in attendance. The students stayed overnight at Kampung Siglap Lifeskills Training & Retreat Centre while the programme sessions were held at the FES Conference Room. The MELT Camp aims for the students to develop a deeper understanding of God’s mission, explore ways to participate individually and collectively in God’s mission, as well as cultivate their leadership potential. The programmes organised exposed the students to various aspects of Christian ministry, such as campus ministry and leadership, which allowed for the opportunity to deepen their biblical understanding of service and leadership alongside skills training. Four polytechnic CF student leaders who attended the camp share their takeaways:
During the workshops on The Mission of God, I learned that many aspects of our lives and what we do as Christians are part of His mission. I don’t need to be an overseas missionary to be able to do that. Every day, we are witnesses of Christ in our speech and conduct. This ties into what we learned on Engaging the Campus. When we immerse ourselves in campus life and initiate conversations with others about our beliefs, we can show everyone what our campus would be like if we exhibited the same love God has for us unto others.
– Lois Pang Sze Yan, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, International Trade and Business Year 2
Our first event planned together as a MELT team was to lead the FES Staff Devotions happening on 1 April. Initially, we were expecting 29 staff to attend the devotions on-site and so we planned our sharing and interactive game based on that information. Due to perhaps a lapse in communication, on the actual day, only around six staff showed up in person, with more than 25 staff joining through Zoom. Unfazed by the change, we quickly edited and reformatted our game to include all the staff attending. Despite the suddenness of this, the overall process was enjoyable and led to much laughter and fond memories.
– Chloe Chung, Singapore Polytechnic, Food Science and Technology Year 2
One of the topics we covered was based on the book The Mission of God and the Task of the Church by Christopher J.H. Wright. I don’t think I had a good understanding of what this meant, until the last two days of MELT when we volunteered with Care Corner, to clean houses and interact with the senior citizens in the Toa Payoh estate. It was a tiring and uncomfortable experience scrubbing the walls and floors of a house that had been kept unkempt for years. I realised how privileged we are that we can use the comfortable and clean premises at the FES office for our CF meetings. However, as part of the global church, our CF should not just be stuck in our comfort zones, but rather go out into our campuses and society to “get our hands dirty”. I am also reminded of the vision of FES “to see a community of Christlike leaders who are salt and light on campus, in the church, and in society for the glory of God”.
– Harold Tan, Temasek Polytechnic, Early Childhood Development and Education Year 3
Learning and exploring Administry (Administrative work and Ministry) expanded my view on administrative work. I enjoy making spreadsheets that are convenient to utilise. However, I never thought about how that is also part of missions. During one of the sessions, we learned how to make financial decisions for our CFs, for example, whether we should donate to charity or use funds to subsidise camp fees for the CFers. These items aren’t just budget issues but as we deal with these matters, it serves as a testimony to our CF members, school administration, and the public of what our CF prioritises and values. So, we need to use our funds wisely considering that.
– Jamie Lim Jiale, Nanyang Polytechnic, Nursing Year 2
Entering the New Normal in Unity with the Lord
Just before the end of the 2021/22 academic year from 26 to 27 February, the incoming Ngee Ann Polytechnic Chinese Christian Fellowship (NP CCF) student committee gathered for a leadership camp together with the outgoing committee. The camp aimed to introduce the roles and responsibilities to the new leaders, and help them understand more about FES, the vision of student work as well as the history of NP CF. It was also a time for the new leaders to understand each other better and most importantly, to learn how to move forward to become better servants for God with God at the centre of it all.
As the new publicity coordinator for NP CCF, attending the camp has opened my eyes to see the various methods of communication, their limitations, and how these platforms can be used to communicate with others, which in my case would be what NP CCF wishes to convey and share with others on campus. Following the camp, we had our first them for the next year that we will be serving together. I hope that I will be able to contribute and be of good use to NP CCF.
– Ruth Wong, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Year 2
Farewell Notes for Yvonne
Being in the same job for 25 years and doing it well is no small feat. Hence, we celebrate Yvonne Choo as one of the longest-serving staff workers of FES Singapore, as she is ending her journey with FES on 30 April 2022. We cherish abundant moments with her, serving together as colleagues in various teams and projects, lamenting about ministry challenges, and finding unexpected joy when God provides responsive and growing students.
During her ministry with FES Singapore, she has also “become all things to all people”. A confidante. A teacher. A strategist. A counsellor. A planner. A negotiator. Even to a certain extent a caregiver and a healer to many. Versatility and resourcefulness are two key unique features Yvonne has been exhibiting.
Obstinately refusing to be labelled as a staff worker that younger ones must aspire to be, she strongly believes that each staff worker must find his or her own path of excellence. Many staff workers have felt inadequate because they compare themselves to their predecessors. In her own words, she says “I have come to learn that who I am is what being a staff worker is all about. Every one of us sets our own standards. There is no standard of a perfect staff worker.”
Now as we bid farewell to Yvonne and wish her all the best in her future endeavours, we believe that the Lord “… who is able to keep [her] from falling, and to make [her] stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing” (Jude 1:24), will continue His presence and sustenance in her life and ministry in many years to come.
From the Library
Flint here, and this time around I thought, why not have book reviews by students for fellow students? Just to change it up a little. I asked a few CFers to share their own reflection on recent books that impacted them, or good reads from our library that they would recommend to other students. These reflections really did encourage me to further reflect on things that I have read, and made me quite excited to read more. On top of all these new books to sink into, I hope the heartfelt sharings would spur all of us on, as we continue on this journey of growing in both knowledge and faith. Happy reading!
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