Five of City Harvest’s very own, Bobby Chaw, Edmund Tay, Lee Yi Lun, Freddy Chng and Lawrence Kong graduate from Trinity Theological College.
Contributed By Reuel Eugene Tay
May 15 marked the beginning of a new chapter for five City Harvest Church members as they graduated from Trinity Theological College. Bobby Chaw Ngin and Edmund Tay Se Teck, both pastors in CHC, and Lee Yi Lun, a zone supervisor, each graduated with a Master of Divinity. Members Lawrence Kong Hock Chye and Freddy Chng Keng Wah graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity. All five had previously studied at and graduated from CHC’s School Of Theology.
Studying in one of the most renowned Bible Colleges in Asia was no easy feat as they had to complete countless theological assignments (ranging from approximately 2,500 to 3,500 words per assignment), clock sufficient ministry practicum hours and fulfill internship assignment requirements, on top of the average 15 hours of lessons a week at TTC located at Upper Bukit Timah Road.
Topics in the Bachelor and Master of Divinity courses spanned Old and New Testament theology, Church History, Missions and Evangelism, Homiletics (the art of public preaching), Christian Ethics, World Religion and even language topics such as Greek and Hebrew to decipher the accurate exegesis of the Bible. Other degree programs in TTC include Master of Theological Studies, Master of Ministry, and Master of Theology.
Established at Mount Sophia in 1948, TTC was birthed when church leaders across different denominations, incarcerated at Changi Prison during the Second World War, decided that a union institution was necessary to train pastors and church workers to serve the needs of the church. Today, TTC remains committed to the mission of training pastors, missionaries, church workers, and theological educators for the manifold ministries across Asia.
One notable TTC graduate is Rev. Dr. Canon James Wong, founding vicar of the Chapel of the Resurrection and founder of Festival of Praise. At the moment, two other CHC members, Leong Yan Chee, a pastor, and Daniel Lim Jun Xian, a zone supervisor, are also pursuing their Masters at TTC.
Held at the Sanctuary of Faith Methodist Church, the graduation service began with the singing of processional hymns such as “Praise To The Lord, The Almighty” and “Ye Servants Of God” led by Rev. Dr. Jeffrey A. Truscott and Rev. Dr. Wilfred Ho Wai Tat. The TTC choir put up a spectacular performance of hymns such as “Proclaim The Glory Of The Lord,” “Taste And See” and the “Hallelujah Chorus.” Valedictorians Raymond Fong and Lau Chong Yaw gave a candid yet moving speech, bringing to remembrance the fun, challenging and tiring moments they had spent rushing their assignments, seeking God and fellowshipping together during the past three years.
Rev. Dr. Steven Gan gave an inspiring message entitled “One Critical Transaction.” Gan reminded the graduating students that to live an effective and fruitful [Christian] life, it is important for them to determine the one activity that helps every other activity to happen. He gave the example of the Olympic torchbearer who must ensure that the flame in the torch does not get extinguished from the beginning to the end. “The one main goal in our Christian life and ministry, the one critical transaction in our faith journey, is to run in a manner that protects the flame, to run in a way that ensures the fire of faith in us does not die,” Gan preached.
Presiding Principal of TTC, Rev. Dr. Ngoei Foong Nghian gave “the charge” to the graduates before conferring the degrees. Cheers from family, friends and fellow graduates were heard throughout the ceremony, as the graduates took to the stage one after another to receive their certificates and graduation hood. The service came to a close as Rt. Rev. Terry Kee prayed a prayer of benediction over the congregation, followed by the singing of the recessional hymn.
A LEARNING EXPERIENCE
Chaw said, “The course has taught me research skills and learning to argue subjects from different perspectives such as from a biblical, theological or a historical perspective.” Tay elaborates, “The lecturers were really interesting and also brought forth thought provoking and challenging questions such as: ‘Should we read the Bible?’ ‘Should the book of Jonah be taken literally or is it just an allegory?’”
Lee who became a mother twice, to two beautiful children Li’ora and Li’ron Goh during the course of study shared, “It was really difficult and tiring [for me] during this period. There were times I had to go through sleepless nights to complete my assignments.”
Both Kong and Chng revealed that the course led them to go deeper in their knowledge and understanding of the Bible through the acquisition of the Greek and Hebrew language. Kong recounts, “What I found most memorable were the Greek and Hebrew lessons where we used these languages to interpret the Bible. The English language Bible has not entirely captured the essence [of the original text] of the Bible which can differ in the words and even the tense used.”
Graduating from TTC has become a significant milestone for the five CHC graduates. However, the best is yet to be as they put aside studying and head back to serving in church to apply what they have learned and fulfill God’s mandate in their lives.
“My experience at TTC has increased my understanding of Christ and what the fathers of faith have done for Christianity. Understanding these foundations is essential to our faith,” said Tay.
To find out more about TTC and the degree programs they offer, log on to http://www.ttc.edu.sg/. For those who are interested in pursuing a full-time theological course, it is recommended that one enroll in the six-month SOT course to be equipped with the basic Christian foundation and understanding prior to enrolling in a degree program.