City News sheds light on details regarding news reports claiming that City Harvest Church has replaced its founder.
Contributed By The City News Team
The fact is that CHC’s founder, Kong Hee, has voluntarily passed on his executive duties to the church’s executive pastor, Derek Dunn, and district pastor, Aries Zulkarnain. Executive decisions regarding the functioning of the church, and its activities will be taken on by the two senior members of staff during the period of investigations by the Commercial Affairs Department.
Kong’s role as the senior pastor of City Harvest Church has not changed. He remains, historically so, the founder of CHC.
On the Saturday mainstream newspapers, it was reported that “It may be a while before City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee, 46, takes to the pulpit again.” But that very day, Kong surprised thousands of churchgoers, and many in the online community, when he appeared before the congregations to preach during the weekend services (see article on the left, “Reflecting On Hope And Thanksgiving”).
Far from speculations of disharmony, the atmosphere in church over the weekend was high-spirited and optimistic. Explains Dunn, “As the investigations are still ongoing, we have been advised by our legal counsel to refrain from making any comments with regards to the financial transactions of the church. We can assure you, however, that the church is fully committed to accountability and integrity in the church’s dealings and has taken steps to safeguard its interests and that of the members.”
Dunn adds, “Since our inception, City Harvest Church has been serving our congregation and the community over the last 20 years, and we respectfully request for the public to refrain from making any unfounded allegations that will undermine the morale of the church during this time.”
Given the sensitivity of the matters involved in the investigations, Dunn regrets that the leadership is unable to address the various issues raised by members and the public. “We hope that members of the public would understand and appreciate the position we are in right now,” he requests.
Dunn, whose father had recently undergone a bypass surgery, had to postpone his trip to the U.S. for a few weeks due to the pending investigations. Dunn will be visiting his family, in particular to see his father, sometime in mid-July.
“Good To See Kong Back!”
City News speaks to some members of CHC to find out how they felt seeing their founder and senior pastor back at the pulpit to preach.
“I was thrilled to hear that familiar voice of Pastor Kong from the pulpit again. In spite of what he is going through, he is really courageous to step up and encourage the entire congregation to never lose focus of the main purpose of our existence as a church, reminding us of the CHC DNA—to continue loving God wholeheartedly and loving people fervently.”
Alvyn Yee, 31, senior accountant
“It was heartwarming to see our beloved spiritual father back at the pulpit, but more importantly, it gave the members the assurance that we’re a family even in uncertain times.”
Justina Tan, 29, journalist
“Pastor Kong has been a role model for me since I was a teenager. He is someone who practices what he preaches; a man of vision who endeavors to give the house of God his best. Most of all, in my darkest moments in life, he has shone the light of Christ, helping me to get through.”
Raymond Lee, 34, senior consulting operations specialist
“I’m proud of Pastor for the fact that despite all, he took the stage and affirmed his ground as a spiritual shepherd who cares for his flock.”
Gwen Ling, 51, financial advisor
“The message reminded me of our purpose and vision since day one. As much as Pastor thanked the church in seven areas, I want to thank Pastor and his wife, Sun, for a wonderful journey it has been with CHC. Thanks for helping me to let my dreams take flight.”
Sophia Ho, 37, director, e-marketing agency
“I remember thinking how thankful I was for a leader like that, as I heard him preach. Here was a man going through an incredibly arduous time, and all he spoke of was love and gratitude, with no ounce of blame.”
Lucia Ku, 25, sales manager
“I thank God for Pastor’s faith and faithfulness in the Lord that has brought us through as a church in the last 21 years. Tough times don’t last, tough men do.”
Kenneth Lim, 36, regional IT manager
“Despite all forms of reports, his return this weekend is assuring to all. It is a testament of Pastor Kong’s steadfast character and unyielding commitment to the vision of the church.”
Kevin Shen, 29, operations manager
“Seeing Pastor Kong back on stage reminded me of what the late Ed Cole said—the message is credible because of the man.”
John Tjia, 41, sales manager
“What’s happening in the present is like a mirror reflecting how strong CHC is. Our faith shall not be moved, but will leave behind a legacy to inspire future generations.”
Maureen Chee, 57, educational consultant
“Your appearance in the service boosts our confidence and faith to meet any challenges that lie ahead.”
Chelvan Panner, 42, manager
“It’s wonderful for us as a church family to be able to show him and Sun our love and support.”
Marc Ronez, 39, leadership and risk management coach
“Personally, it was very assuring. After listening to the sermon, I am once again reminded of what it means to be a Christian and what CHC stands for.”
Clara Yeo, 33, teacher