Shouts of joy and victory resound from the halls of Suntec Singapore as City Harvest Church celebrated its grand opening services.
Contributed By GJ Gonzales
It is a momentous feat that took years of what felt like endless searching and sowing: City Harvest Church has finally arrived at its new venue. The journey has not been a smooth-sailing one: The last 10 months have brought waves of challenges and difficulties upon the church. But holding on, united as ever before, its senior pastor Kong Hee and wife Sun Ho, with the rest of the leaders and members have braced through the storms, keeping their eyes on the prize: that new day and new era for the church.
Set on the theme of A New Day, the move into Suntec Singapore marks a new milestone in the history of the church.
With considerable excitement on the weekend of March 19 and 20, City Harvest members flocked to halls 601 and 602 on the sixth level of Suntec Singapore for the services, which were held on Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m. The first service on Saturday evening saw a full house: hundreds of people who could not get in were asked, with regrets, to come back early the next day.
Alex Pang, one of the greeters at the door, said, “Some people walked up to the sixth floor not knowing there was a church service happening here. They looked around and were amazed. I believe this an awesome central location that can draw a lot of visitors.”
CHC made its entrance to its new premises with strong, fervent praying and victorious, celebratory praise. At the start of the service, the congregation was instructed to put on the pair of 3D glasses from their welcome pack, before watching an impressive 3D video that drew them into a whole new world at Suntec City. This unexpected opening created an exhilarating sense of anticipation for the rest of the service.
Performance items by the Strikeforce, the 20-member music team, the 100-strong choir, dancers and a string quartet made the opening ceremony extra special. Singer and sand artist Erika Chen, a City Harvest member who left Singapore last month to perform with Cirque du Soleil’s new show Zarkana in Montreal and New York, made a special gift for her church: a sand art telling of the CHC story, from the promises of God to the church’s first days at 41A Amber Road, to its works that have transformed lives, to its new location at Suntec Singapore. The congregation was completely wowed by her magnificent creation. Raymond Fernando, a pastor in one of CHC’s affiliate churches, remarked, “CHC is becoming more happening than ever before.”
“WE CHOOSE LOVE”
Central to the theme A New Day was senior pastor Kong Hee’s message of love. Realizing that great works amount to nothing without it, the church re-established the foundations it was built upon: loving God wholeheartedly and loving people fervently.
“We demonstrate the love we have for God by loving the people around us. Everything that we do must be founded on these two things,” said Kong.
To reinforce its mission of love, songs such as “The Heart Of Worship,” “Amazing Grace,” “Thank You For The Cross,” “It Is You” and “I Love You Lord” that express simplicity of heart and deep love toward God were sung by the congregation. Real-life testimonies from members whose lives were completely changed for the better by God moved the hearts of many. Clearly, the church is a place where needs are met and where the power of God can be encountered.
The foundation of love has held the church together in its 22 years of existence and will continue to set the pace for the years ahead. In his sermon, Kong encouraged the people to make fresh decisions about life. “A new day requires new choices. We can choose to be disappointed, frustrated, angry and bitter and vindictive. But let me tell you what I choose: I choose love.”
To sum up the celebration service, the song, “Because Of You” was sung. Kong encouraged church members to sing it as a tribute to one another, and to find the person who had first brought them to church and thank them. This sent people moving all across the hall to locate their pastors, cell group leaders, and old friends. Tearful hugs and words of appreciation were exchanged and the church family was once again reminded of the cause and passion of Christ, which is the heartbeat of CHC’s ministry.
What made the occasion more special were the hundreds of friends and visitors from CHC’s affiliate and network churches who had flown to Singapore to witness this significant occasion.
It was a time of rejoicing as they congratulated CHC on its historic move to Suntec Singapore. Garrick Li, pastor of Grace Church in Taiwan told City News, “It was glorious, something very special. It’s a new day not just for City Harvest, but for the rest of us.”
Michael Brooks, CEO of Crusade for World Revival, whose last visit to CHC was in the 90s, commented, “It has grown in so many ways. God has moved the church through a time of preparation to a whole new end.” Kong’s former Anglican pastor and a long-time friend of CHC, Canon James Wong, said, “I sense the vibrancy and the love of God in this place. There’s a greater outpouring of God’s grace upon City Harvest Church.”
GREATER THINGS ARE YET TO COME
World-renowned preacher and teacher of biblical economics, John Avanzini complimented the church’s dedication to God’s Kingdom through its giving.
“City Harvest Church is more than a giving church, it is a sowing church. Its members are dedicated to seedtime and harvest. They give not just what they can afford, but they give because it’s their lifestyle no matter what season they’re in,” he affirmed.
With this “DNA” flowing in every CHC member, the church continues to raise up generations of faithful sowers. In the words of Franklin and Nina Lumoindong of GPdI Sidoarjo, “This [Suntec Singapore] has been a greater breakthrough for CHC. You are seeing what you’ve been longing for. This is an appointed time for an increased harvest of souls and immense growth.”
Members loved the new venue. Joanne Toh, cell group leader of a youth group commented, “It’s a convenient one-stop center. We pray, shop and eat all within the same vicinity.”
Children and parents now have better facilities to enjoy both spiritual time and parent-child bonding time before and after the service.
Jennifer Griffiths, a mother with two playful boys reveals that now she gets extra family time while at the play area, Kids@PLAY at Hall 603.
“Before this, the play area wasn’t big enough to allow parents to play with their children. Now we can interact with them more. I even have my husband and mother with me here.”
In that same hall, displays and booths featuring various ministries drew a constant stream of people who stopped by to inquire more about the various services and ministries available in the church.
The Visitors’ Lounge was full of new friends and guests of the church who were happily sipping their steaming cups of Starbucks coffee—compliments of CHC—while chatting to the greeters. First-time visitors of CHC received a copy of that day’s sermon on CD.
Even as this move marks the beginning of new things, there are other areas of development that members can look forward to. A creative team is in place to find ways to enhance the church-going experience for every person, and to allow for more channels of communication.
There is also a carpark hotline (+65 6722 9225) for members to dial before reaching Suntec, so they know the number of available lots left in the mall and surrounding areas.
For City Harvest, this is the beginning of all things new.
What Guests Say
“It’s great to be able to attend this occasion. I believe that there will be a great breakthrough in the spiritual realm—as the people enter higher ground, they will enter a new realm of influence, and the truth will start to spread out.”
“Congratulations, CHC, for your hard work in serving God tirelessly in spite of adversity! It’s a new day and the journey ahead may be hard but let’s keep persevering and shining for Christ because we know the righteous will reign!”
“Congratulations CHC in entering your ‘Promised Land’! Now that you have reached this new milestone, I believe that the church will be a greater blessing and influence. Rest assured that God will preserve and protect you—His Church—in these difficult times and CHC will continue to grow from glory to glory!”
“Stepping into this place is like witnessing the birth of a beautiful baby after having gone through the labor pains of pregnancy. I congratulate City Harvest, Pastor Kong and all its members as we take a step closer to grow to 100,000 in strength.”
City Harvest Christian Fellowship
“It’s like a dream come true for many of us and I am very happy for Pastor Kong. It will certainly be a day to remember.”
Father’s House Community Church
“Considering the challenges faced by CHC, this move to Suntec is no doubt a miracle from God! It definitely attests to how we can receive God’s promises if we keep believing.”
Sim Chee Teck
Shekinah Harvest Church Singapore
“I’m very excited for CHC’s move into the city to penetrate the marketplace. I believe strongly that this move is indeed the beginning of a new day not just for CHC but for Singapore and beyond.”
Harvest Generation Church
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
“It’s just awesome to be here, there’s an amazing atmosphere. This is a history-making event and we are looking forward to great things for CHC.”
Kumamoto Harvest Church
“I’m convinced that CHC is built on the foundation of God’s love. The unity in faith, love and vision exhibited by the church during the past 10 months has been a great source of inspiration to me and my church.”
“This is beyond words or expression, the answer to the prayers that we’ve been making for you. We are able to see with our own eyes what was thought to be impossible come to pass. Congratulations, City Harvest Church!”
“Besides making history, this move is a testimony of inspirational faith. I commend the church for standing and praying with Pastor Kong and the leadership through thick and thin during difficult times.”
“I am honored to be here to participate in this momentous time. I believe the service will usher in the presence of God. Congratulations CHC, may the Lord continue to bless you and be in your midst!”
“It is a milestone and a testimony for all the churches in Asia—a breakthrough that has never been seen in modern church history.”
“Congratulations City Harvest on this new day. I still remember back in 2005 when I was studying in SOT and we had the ‘Arise & Build’ campaign and now we see the dream come true—it is just exciting.”
Yan Guang Ming
Rhema Christian Church
“This is indeed a new day for all of us—one that is filled with much anticipation and breakthrough. We believe the service will bring forth personal breakthroughs for the members and propel the church into the global arena.”
Principal Church Consultant of Global Church Solutions
“I’ve known of City Harvest for many years, and I just happened to be here in Singapore on business so I popped by. I think it’s a great opportunity to showcase what God’s all about.”
Ge Zhao Xing
Pingtung Peace Church
“This is a new day for the members and there will be a mighty breakthrough amongst the people. The church will begin to move towards a new direction and be equipped to do greater things.”
City Harvest Church, Penang Malaysia
“Congratulations to Kong and Sun and City Harvest Church on their miracle move to Suntec Singapore. We’re believing for leaps and bounds!”
Inspire Community Centre
“We are so excited just looking at this hall and the crowd. We want to congratulate Pastor Kong and the CHC team for providing such a place for the entire congregation to worship.”
“The moment I come to City Harvest, I never fail to experience the presence of God. City Harvest, keep on walking; Indonesia loves Pastor Kong and this church.”