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A Celebration of God’s Goodness, A Dedication to Christ’s Cause

posted 25.10.2012

Source: Diocese of Singapore Website

‘A Celebration of God’s Goodness, A Dedication to Christ’s Cause is the theme of the Installation and Investiture of the Rt Revd Rennis Ponniah as the 9th Bishop of Singapore. And what a celebration of the Lord by His people it was on 20 October 2012 at St Andrew’s Cathedral.

At 4.25 pm the bells of the Cathedral pealed to call the 2,500 worshippers to prepare their hearts and minds to worship God. The 200-strong grand procession comprising choir members, wardens, Provincial and Diocesan Chancellors and Registrars, local and overseas clergy, bishops and archbishops processed in declaring in unity that ‘Jesus shall reign whene’er the sun does his successive journeys run…’

Amidst the traditional setting of the Cathedral, there was still a sense of an intimate family gathering of brothers and sisters in Christ. In the congregation were 30 of Bishop Ponniah’s family, members from the 27 parishes, Anglican schools and community services, mission partners, the six deaneries, bishops and clergy from the Province of South East Asia and archbishops from the Global South Communion. It was the Church united to celebrate God’s blessings on the Diocese of Singapore.

Archbishop Bolly Lapok, Primate of the Province of South East Asia, in his sermon recognised that the role of the bishop in Singapore is a complex one. However at the heart, a bishop is called to be the shepherd of Christ’s flock and the steward of God’s household (John 21:15-17).

The Bishop-designate knocked three times on the closed doors of the Cathedral at the beginning of his installation service. When the doors were opened so did the skies above as showers of blessing rained down.

After he was presented to the congregation, two of Bishop Ponniah’s family members sang a song written for the occasion, ‘Not my will but yours.’ These are words he echoed in his Thanksgiving message. Bishop Ponniah recognised that what he has been entrusted with is humanly impossible except with strength and wisdom from Christ. The cup of self-sacrificial service is not his to drink alone but for the whole church. He harkened to two Anglican martyrs Latimer and Ridley and acknowledged that through light from God that is His grace, we will be able to give of ourselves.

The Installation and Investiture was witnessed by His Excellency, Dr Tony Tan, President of Singapore, his wife, Mr Lawrence Wong, Senior Minister of State for Education and Information, Communication and the Arts and his wife, MP Mr Christopher de Souza and his wife, and two former politicians Dr Seet Ai Mee and Mrs Lim Hwee Hua. There were also heads of other denominations present such as the Catholic Archbishop Nicolas Chia, the newly elected bishop Rt Revd Dr Wee Boon Hup from the Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Moderator Revd Dr Steven Gan.

The Service culminated in a Garden party on the West and South Lawns of the Cathedral.

 

Comments from some of the witnesses

Archbishop Ben Kwashi of Nigeria

I have known Bishop Rennis for more than 16 years. He is a wonderful person; loving, kind-hearted and full of wisdom. He is passionate about the Gospel and has a winsome way of presenting the Gospel, that is an asset.

Bishop Albert Vun of Sabah

I am very excited as we have been close friends for many years. I know him to be Godly with a deep spiritual life. He will bring a freshness to the Provincial leadership and the Diocese of Singapore for I see every new change as a renewal, a great responsibility and the potential for growth.

Archbishop Mouneer Anis of Eqypt, Chairman of the Global South

I felt the service was wonderful, wonderful because the emphasis was on God’s glory. It was well-organised, a credit to Dean Kuan and his team. I found Bishop Rennis’ words at the end of the Service very moving.

Dr Samy Fawzy Shehata, Dean of St Mark’s pro-Cathedral, Alexandria

There was a strong presence of God during the Service and when the congregation was singing and praising God.

Archbishop Stephen Than Myint Oo of Myanmar, Gen Sec of the Global South

The presence of the Holy Spirit was so strong in the church during the Service, He filled the place. Although the ceremony was grand, there was a sense of simplicity because it was focused on God. There was the feeling of a family gathering.

Archbishop Robert Duncan of the Anglican Church of North America

It was a great day, great joy of the world and at the service. It reflects the nature of the Diocese of Singapore and of the man Bishop Rennis because of the presence of the mission partners and family, an inclusitivity. The Christian spirit was reflected in Bishop Rennis’ deep love for the Word of God and reverence of the Holy Spirit. At our first Provincial Assembly in June this year, he agreed, he was my first choice as Bible teacher and to my joy he agreed as he is active and engaged in the Word.

Revd Canon Kim Beard of Canada, Church of Gracious Restraint

It is a great honour and privilege to be here. It is a rare event to meet brothers and sisters from across South East Asia and the world. Bishop Rennis loves God and people. He has a passion to share this love. In WW2, the sign of a good officer is that he leads from the front. Bishop Rennis is like that. He lives out the Gospel and he shares it wisely and passionately.

 
 
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