Representatives of Christian Churches bless the congregation towards the end of the Jan 16 prayer service at the Lutheran Church of our Redeemer. In pulpit: Lutheran Bishop Terry Kee. Standing below him from left: Rev Richard Chiu, Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer; Franciscan Friar Derrick Yap, Church of St Mary of the Angels; Rev David Wee Boon Hup, Barker Road Methodist Church; Rev Dr Matthew Lim, International Baptist Church Singapore; Catholic Vicar General Msgr Eugene Vaz; Rev Nick Singh, Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer; Jesuit Fr Philip Heng, Church of St Ignatius Church; Rev Susheel Cheriyan, Mar Thoma Syrian Church and Mr Lawrence Chong, Focolare Movement.

... Lutheran bishop urges Christians of various denominations at ecumenical service

Put aside petty squabbles and competition to prepare for the coming of Christ.

This was the message Lutheran Bishop Terry Kee had for Christians of different denominations who attended a Jan 16 prayer service to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Christians should focus on what they have in common, such as Christ’s victory over death and resurrection, and their baptism and salvation in Christ, he told the 200-strong crowd gathered at the Lutheran Church of our Redeemer at Duke’s Road.

Do not be caught up by “petty quarrels that we miss the exciting coming of the Lord and the preparation that the Lord” has called for, Bishop Kee urged the crowd, gathered for one of two prayer services to mark the special week.

“To usher in the King of Glory,” said Bishop Kee, it is important that “those who have been saved in Him realise that in Him we are one”.

Yet, Christians pick on “minor things” to argue and fight about rather than “celebrating the things we have in common”.

In doing so, Christians “miss the whole message … and the call God has for all of us”, the bishop said.

He reminded those present of the brotherhood and sisterhood they share in Christ despite denominational differences and disagreements.

The second service was held at the Catholic Church of St Mary of the Angels on Jan 19 and attended by about 300 people.

Parish priest Franciscan Friar John-Paul Tan said the evening’s service was a celebration of “the gift of life, the gift of creation, and the gift of faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”.

He urged Christians to proclaim the Good News through “temperance, generosity and proper stewardship” and to “offer a message of healing and reconciliation”.

Fr John-Paul also highlighted the symbolism of water in the Christian life. He invited those present to celebrate their common identity as Christians and the gift of life by approaching the baptismal font.

Archbishop Nicholas Chia led the concluding prayer.

Some first-timers at the services said the events helped boost ecumenism.

Mr Ting Lik Ho, a Methodist, said the call for unity is in the Bible and that Christians should be more tolerant of each other’s differences.

Mr John Chan, a catechumen from the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, concurred, saying he found Bishop Kee’s message relevant.

Christians should “look more to [their] similarities than differences,” he said.

The theme for this year’s Christian Unity Week was “We will all be Changed by the Victory of Our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 15: 51-58).

By Darren Boon
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