The School Of Theology graduates 640 students over a two-day convocation ceremony.
|CN PHOTO: Gloria Wong|
A new beginning is waiting to unfold for the 640 graduates of the 16th student intake who were dressed smartly in black graduation robes and mortarboards over the weekend of Aug. 28 to 29 at City Harvest Church’s weekend services.
Over the past six months, the students went through rigorous training in learning how to build an effective ministry in a local church, as well as practical applications of evangelism, deliverance, healing and world missions. Within the short time frame, a compact curriculum rooted in the Great Commandment, the Great Commission and the Cultural Mandate was delivered to the international cohort.
Kelvin Soh Say Ming, a gospel singer-songwriter (read box story below) and one of the SOT graduates this year, kicked off the graduation ceremony with two Mandarin gospel songs, titled “Persevering Faith” and “Count Your Blessings.”
After the heartfelt performance, a team of 51 graduates who had participated in one of the 33 mission trips made across the region during the academic year, went on stage to testify and recount their trip to Malang, Indonesia. Among them was Samuel Lee, 21, who had only started attending CHC a year ago. Despite his inexperience as a young believer, he preached to more than 290 Indonesian youths across 15 schools during the trip. He was able to do so because through SOT, he had “learned to lean on God” and was convinced that “ordinary people like him could be used by God to do extraordinary things.” Lee and his teammates impacted over 2,000 youths and led 147 in salvation decisions. All who went on the mission trips could testify that they had experienced an increase in their faith level and have grown in their love for fellow believers in Christ in other parts of the world.
SOT proved to be more than a theological center for the equipping of God’s Word; it was an institution for the opening of minds and hearts to love and serve in the Body of Christ.
Two representatives from the cohort were selected to preach to the weekend congregation, on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Filled with fervor and conviction, Lin Hui Hui from China and Sam John Thomas from India delivered their sermons with penetrating deftness in a window of seven minutes.
As excitement and energy mounted, CHC’s founder, Kong Hee, gave the commencement address, following which, the buzzing of the vuvuzelas could be heard, signaling the move to the next part of the service for the graduating class as they prepared to receive their certificates. The ceremony was divided into two sessions, with 323 students receiving their Advanced Certificate in Theology on Saturday, while the remaining 317 students were awarded their certificates on Sunday.
Following their official graduation, winners of six categories: Best Attendance, Courage Award, Best Academic Performance, Minister of the Year, Best SOT Team and the Best Overall Student, were also announced over the two-day ceremony (see box stories of award winners).
Speaking to City News, Michael Tan June Kiat, 24, was among the 323 who graduated on Saturday. He shared that “SOT has made me a better person as I have learned to be more disciplined in my walk with God and I am better equipped to face challenges in my life ahead.”
Unknown to many, this self-driven and confident young man was also a winner of the Koh Boon Hwee Scholars Award at his convocation ceremony at Nanyang Technological University last month. Apart from his excellent track record in school, he also serves as a cell group guitarist in CHC.
Chen Yan Hui Timothy, 29, teacher and a youth cell group leader, sat through the graduation service and was inspired to “enroll into Bible school in two years’ time,” confident that SOT will transform his life and equip him for ministry.