AG churches all over Singapore have always been active in reaching out to the less fortunate residents struggling with life’s basic necessities. This need has never been more significant than in the current Covid-19 pandemic. AG churches’ community activities and programs have generally been low profile and are usually conducted independently.
Assemblies of God Community Services Society [AGCSS] seeks to champion and support AG churches’ community programs and services through Network Meetings. At these Network Meetings:
- Different AG social organizations and churches share their experiences in serving their respective communities.
- The leadership from these social organizations and churches would spur and inspire each other through their different success stories.
- There has been the sharing of resources, as well as helpful links for them to connect with relevant government agencies.
- Collaborative efforts with a platform to provide greater visibility of AG churches’ community work in Singapore.
Towards this end, AGCSS has held several network meetings.
The latest Network Meeting held on 26 Mar 2021, via Zoom, was attended by participants from Arise Community Services, Bethel Community Services, Change Community Services, Care Community Services Society, Emmanuel Assembly of God, Faith Assembly of God Church, Potter’s Place Community Services Society and Zion Full Gospel Church. REACH Community Services who would usually join us was not able to be present.
The community endeavours shared by the participants were both diverse and uplifting. These range from providing daily necessities, guidance and counselling, job assistance and even to setting up of dementia care service centre and homeless shelters! The range of activities and assistance has touched the lives of many and made a positive impact in the community.
Arise Community Services started a “Belly Blessed” program to feed the underprivileged in their community. They provided vouchers, valid at partnering food stalls and supermarket, for up to 50 people, to provide a meal a day, every day of the year. Their program was well supported by church members, both in terms of volunteers and finances. The support from
the partners was also notable as some of them chose to give a discount or more food than the value of the vouchers! The beneficiaries were happy with this arrangement as the food stalls are conveniently located within walking distance from their homes. They have great food choices and their bellies are truly blessed every day!
Faith Assembly reaches out to their community through their own programs as well as in partnership with the local authorities. The “Faith Love Cart” program provides daily necessities to the poor and needy in the community. It started off with a cart filled with basic food necessities but have since evolved to NTUC vouchers to provide the families greater flexibility in the choice of commodities. They have also partnered with the community centre to help distribute Milk & Cereal to poor families with young children, under the Community Development & Welfare Fund. In addition to these activities, Faith also had a Bursary award scheme to motivate the children in their studies.
A surprising brave new effort was the setting up of a Homeless Shelter by Change Community Services (Emmanuel Assembly of God). Homelessness in Singapore is not something most Singaporeans think about. This is probably because they are not so visible. Nevertheless, the plight of the homeless in Singapore was even highlighted by some western media.
This effort is not without its challenges especially in terms of managing rough sleepers who come from all walks of life. Members were very supportive in setting up the shelter and helping to minister and meet the physical needs of the residents. Posturepedic beds were also generously donated by Sealy in support of the set-up. Costs for running the shelter were brought down significantly by the tremendous generosity of God’s people. Praise God for His provision!
Key to the success of the programme is to help the homeless get back on their feet. This has been most challenging due to the myriad of problems they face. Apart from providing a safe place to stay, efforts were made to provide guidance or counselling as appropriate and to connect them with the relevant authorities for further assistance.
The need for economic success is also recognized by Care Community Services Society. They offer financial assistance, emotional counselling and also helped in finding meaningful jobs. In view of CCS’ Homeless Shelter program, they have offered the services of their case workers, should they be needed. Such collaboration is welcomed and encouraged by Ps Beatrice.
Care Community Services has been active in many areas. They have a strong network with corporate organizations and government authorities. They have endeavoured to build a “Church Without Walls” by extending the church to the community through the services they provide. One such service is their Dementia Care Service Centre which provides services not catered by the normal daycare centres. Their close collaboration with the government authorities allow easy connection with the right agencies for the appropriate assistance.
Potter’s Place Community Service provides legal counselling and has received many requests for Lasting Power of Attorney matters. They also provide special care packages for residents in the Home Hospice Care.
Zion Full Gospel Church partnered with St Luke’s hospital. This activity has been impacted by the Covid-19 situation with the partnership moving to providing multi-media video productions for their outreach programs.
While all these work require a lot of effort and finances, the Lord’s hand has been evident in every instance. Finance and donations of various kinds have poured in. Such a beautiful display of God’s divine provision as we labour to bring God’s Love to the community.
Rev Beatrice Kang, was particularly thankful for AG churches’ ministry of love to the community. She noted the offer of assistance and collaboration and encourage more to share resources wherever they can.
“It is not about counting the harvest but rather about counting the seeds we are all sowing.” she said as she encouraged the participants. “The harvest belongs to the Lord!” she exhorted. “A church should always remain relevant!”