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Farewell Reflections from Rev Peter Chen

posted 17.12.2017

(Revd Peter Chen joined the staff/clergy team in Jan 2016; his last day in SJC is 31 Dec 2017. He is concurrently serving as Acting Vicar in St Andrew’s City Church since Jan 2017 and will relinquish his Acting Vicar’s responsibility in SACtC on 31 Jan 2018.)   

In a couple of days, I will turn 69 and this time next year I will be celebrating my 70th birthday. Many people have told me it is time to relax, to slow down and to enjoy life. But for me to enjoy life is to be able to be involved in God’s work.

Before we left St. Andrew’s Cathedral to come to St. James’ two years ago, I shared in the Diocesan Digest that my desire is to continue to serve God and to do His Kingdom work so long as I am physically and mentally able to do so. This remains my sole purpose for the remaining years in the “third third” (60-90 years) of my life.

As Rosalind and I seek God’s direction for 2018 and beyond, God put this word on our hearts that if we want to soar like an eagle we must first step out of the nest. We believe God is challenging us to move out of our comfort zone and to venture into uncharted waters.

Hence, when Ps. Siang Guan offered me another extension of service in St. James’, I had to turn him down. I believe God is leading Rosalind and me to serve Him in a different setting; a place where there will be ample fresh challenges and not as cosy and comfortable as in St. James’.

Many of us don’t like changes and challenges but I believe God uses these to stretch and to strengthen our spiritual muscles. I recently came across an article that said that sometimes being too comfortable where we are may result in our not experiencing life to the full, not progressing and not learning at all.

As I bid farewell to my brothers and sisters in Christ in SJC, may I encourage you with the same word God has given me. If you want to soar like an eagle, you must first step out of your nest.

St. James’ has been richly blessed by our Lord in the last 40 years and the greatest blessing God has given to the church is her people. I am deeply encouraged by those who selflessly give of their money, their time and their energy to serve God in ministries such as the SPK, the cells, the Building Faith Foundation (BFF) course, the Foundational Discipleship groups (FDG), the JYM and the HEAL ministries. Your work is well appreciated and recognised by even those outside the church.

I like to encourage all of you at SJC not to remain where you are and be happy doing what is familiar and comfortable to you. I believe God is calling SJC as a church to learn to soar like eagles; to dare to take on more challenges.

For example, I believe SJC is mature and poised to step out to plant a church within the next few years before SJC50. We should also dare to move from using Alpha as the tool of evangelism to train our members to be able to do friendship evangelism and personal witnessing as part of our spiritual DNA. Not only that we should be intentional in helping every member to be a disciple as well as becoming a disciple-maker.  

Finally, I want to thank Ps Siang Guan, the staff team and the PCC for the opportunity to serve the Lord together in the last two years. Rosalind and I also thank the SJC community for your warmth and care. May God empower us to do what He has intended us to do and may SJC grow from glory to glory. Amen.