Christian representatives having fellowship at Crossings Cafe on May 4.

Fostering greater Christian unity and continuing dialogue with each other. These were some of the key points brought up during the annual ecumenical Easter lunch on May 4.

The event, held at CANA The Catholic Centre, saw pastors and pastoral staff from various Christian traditions and communities share their experiences of ecumenism in Singapore over the years.

This was the fourth such event organised by the Archdiocesan Catholic Council for Ecumenical Dialogue (ACCED).
Commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this year, participants also shared what the occasion meant to them.

“It provides an opportunity for us [Christians] to reflect on past experiences and to look forward with renewed hope,” said Rev Martin Yee from the Lutheran Church in Singapore. He added that the most important thing about the

Reformation was for Catholics and Lutherans to learn from the “painful experiences of the past” so as to build a platform for more collaboration in the future.

Fr Jude David from the Church of St Francis Xavier recalled an experience of how an ailing father with two sons – one Catholic and the other a Methodist – was baptised only on his deathbed.

He could not choose whether to be baptised a Methodist or Catholic, said Fr Jude, alluding to the walls of division that have damaged Christian unity.

Fr Abey M. Chacko from the St Thomas Orthodox Syrian Cathedral said he hopes to see greater fraternity between Christians.

“We have theological differences but we are all Christians. All part of one human body with God as the head,” he said.

To “acknowledge each other as children of God, Fr Abey said Christians must first “see each other as humans, regardless of religion, race or sex.”

He cited the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity as an event which “highlights the steps that the various Christian communities in Singapore have taken to foster relationships.”

Rev Malcolm Tan, from the Covenant Community Methodist Church, noted the importance of “working together to do God’s work.”

“It can be tough to do God’s work all by yourself. This really is the value of unity, to have friends during the good and bad times so you don’t ever feel alone.”

Ending the sharing, Msgr Philip Heng, rector of the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, reminded his fellow Christians to protect and treasure the “interreligious harmony in Singapore.”

“Sometimes a lot of what we say about other religions can be taken out of context or misinterpreted, so we have to be conscious,” he said.

He also encouraged those gathered to “continue to affirm one another and build stronger relationships through events and gatherings like today.”

Participants then proceeded to Crossings Cafe to enjoy lunch and fellowship with one another.

Last year, Pope Francis and leaders of the Lutheran World Federation launched a year of activities in Sweden to mark the 500th anniversary in 2017 of Martin Luther’s efforts to reform the Church. 

By Jared Ng
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