Amassing over eleven-thousand spirit-charged individuals, City Harvest Church (CHC) shook the foundations of the Singapore Indoor Stadium at its 20th Anniversary on the 2 August 2009.
The pre-service atmosphere was indeed electrifying. Shutters clicked and placards containing phrases such as “Great Commandment” and “Success!” were frantically waved as members and friends snapped away to remember this precious moment.
Lee Chern Yih, 22, an usher, expressed his opinions about the event. “I am overwhelmed by the fact that such a large number of people can come celebrate this joyous occasion in a single meeting. Most especially for a young believer like me, I am deeply touched by the unity and love people here have for this church. This is what defines us as CHC!”
To kick-start the festivities, the crowd was treated to a rendition of the US Reality Game Show, Don’t Forget the Lyrics! hosted by Bernard Loh and Andrea Lim, a battle of the sexes commenced as the male team, Team Mars, and the all-women’s team, Team Venus, duked it out in a contest of memory, wits and speed. Participants were to choose from six distinct categories, some of which are Emo, Jubilant, Battleground and Holy Ground. As the rules go, a member from each team is required to sing karoke-style until blanks appear, through which, one has to make a lyrical guess. The congregation cheered for their own members as each team showed their musical prowess. It was a close fight, but Team Venus emerged victorious.
As the stadium lights dimmed, faint silhouettes of our pioneers appeared on the steps of the stage. Standing in full formation under spotlight, each of them shared their personal testimonies about how God, through Kong Hee, has discipled, encouraged and brought them up to who they are today. These include Lilian Cher, interior designer, Tan Tian-An who has played Jesus in almost every single CHC Easter Drama to date, and Choong Tsih Ming, Joseph Ang and Bobby Chaw, gangsters turned pastors of CHC.
The sprightly CHC Band then inaugurated the 20th Anniversary Celebration with well-known hits such as ‘Heaven’; from its recent album release, Light of the City, and ‘I Will Bless the Lord’; from the True Worshippers, which have also been featured as one of the main bands for this year’s Festival of Praise. The band also crowned refreshing new tunes such as ‘Radiate’, ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Because of You’. Merely a taste of what new music there is, more can be found in their 20th Anniversary release album, Writings on the Wall.
Emcees for the afternoon, Aries and Sandy Zulkarnain, warmly welcomed CHC’s very own chamber ensemble, The Millennial Orchestra, with the Choir, on stage to perform a piece composed by veteran composer, Dr Kelly Tang, entitled ‘Child of Destiny’. The orchestra and choir will also feature this piece, amongst other home-grown creations during their debut performance at the Victoria Concert Hall on the 23 August 2009. Taiwanese Pop Star, Wing, also graced the occasion with a song.
Shortly after, the stadium was suddenly enshrouded in darkness whilst a photo and video montage of CHC’s 20-year history was shown on screen. Roars of laughter and screams filled the hall as members reminisced about their experiences in the early days. With regards to the distinct change (for the better) in outward appearances, Aries Zulkarnain playfully commented, “You definitely can see the ‘transformation’ power of God in our lives!”
Full of confidence and energy, the Kids Band, consisting of children between the ages of nine and 14, then rocked the congregation to the beat of ‘Sing Sing Sing’, by Chris Tomlin. Formed only a month before the Anniversary day, their consistency and hard work have indeed bore fruit. Let us be witnesses of the next generation of musicians!
|PHOTOS: Elvis Chu, Gary Sim, Gay Sen Min, Gloria Wong,
Jayson Lee, Ryan Ng, Yan Juyi
The highlight of the celebration was undoubtedly the powerful visionary message imparted by Kong Hee, the founder of CHC. Having arrived at where we are today, Kong shares what makes CHC unique to its calling. In order to progress to the next 20, we should keep the spiritual basics such as praying, fasting, and giving whilst withholding the commandments of God close to our hearts.
Kong further emphasizes that we should avoid preaching separation and practice isolation. Rather, we should have “holy worldliness”, which is to uphold holy disciplines, yet be connected to the world by being relevant and up to date. Because of this, CHC embarked on the Church without Walls ministry to extend help and identify with the pains struggles and problems of the people outside the four walls of the church. The Cultural Mandate was also preached and acted upon to reach out to the five pillars of the Marketplace; Business, Education, Governments, Arts and Entertainment and the Mass Media.
Rather than preaching the message, we should embody the message that CHC has for the masses. Although the next 20 years may see stronger enemies and greater challenges, we should have the assurance that we can be overcomers!
Cautioning us on the dangers of religious extremes such as antinomianism and legalism, Kong strongly encourages us to keep a balanced, all-rounded life.
Kong’s conclusion poses a strong question to us: “Will we still love God when we are older, and wiser?”
The congregation celebrated CHC’s big 20 with a bang, Fireworks, streamers, confetti and balloons collided as the CHC band closed with the popular hit tune, ‘That’s What Friends Are For’. The service closed with surprise birthday wish from Sun Ho, International Pop Star, and son, Dayan.
Indeed CHC is where dreams are realized and successes are celebrated.