A Uniquely Filipino Way Of Celebrating And Merrymaking
CHC’s Filipino Ministry celebrated the end of 2017 with a colorful carnival.
If Hall 606 could speak, it might tell you it felt like the prom queen that day.
A gathering organized by City Harvest Church’s Filipino service brought noise and color to the worship hall. The carnival, Filipino Fiesta, was held on Nov 26. Colorful booths and decorations filled the space, and popular Filipino music filled the air.
The church’s Filipino service, which began in 2006, has grown from just 10 members to around 200 people, who belong in six cell groups. The ministry provides a platform for Filipinos working in Singapore to meet and experience God together.
To open the event, Hansen Sy, one of the founding members of the Filipino service shared a word on the Passover. He shared how Jesus sacrificed His life so that Man can receive eternal life. He then prayed for the members. After that, the party began.
Eighteen booths were set up to represent the 18 districts in the Philippines. They had been designed and set up by various cell group members in the Filipino ministry. Each booth only had a budget of $20 for decoration. Thus, the members had to be very creative and resourceful, so they used recyclable materials and even donated items for their booth. The members, however, contributed and served with joy.
“At first, it was just one member giving food and extra items as prizes,” said one of the cell group leader, Anna Tan. “Soon, more people started to walk through my front door offering the same. Every day, people were asking how much they could give and when they could give.” Her cell group was in high spirits at the end of the fiesta as they had won the award for “Best Booth”.
Some of the church’s ministries pitched in to the festivities.
One attraction was the photo booth set up by the visual communication ministry. They used wooden boards and spray paint to make a van come alive. Another was the hair and makeup booth. Although it was in a corner, it attracted many as makeup artists deftly added colour and beauty to faces.
The usher ministry used sand, glue, and cardboard to spell out their booth name in standing block letters. It brought people visiting their booth straight to Sentosa, visually at least.
Children were involved as well. The Filipino ministry had a kids’ booth that entertained children with coloring activities, stickers and snacks.
“It’s so nice!” said Emerson Nacino, a healthcare provider, heartily. “We were so excited about this for a long time. We spent one month preparing for this. We would meet every day after work to decorate our booths. In fact, we only slept at 2am this morning!” Nacino joined the Filipino ministry in 2016.
“I’ve been in the Filipino service for six years and in the chorus board ministry for a year,” said Emily Sy, who works in DBS. “The visual communication ministry is really fun. I hope for the members to grow, not just in our finances, but spiritually too. I hope we will be a blessing to our nation, not just to our family members.”
Apart from the booths, there was also entertainment and games. A funky dance number by the ministry’s own dance club entertained all who were present—and then invited those who liked to dance to join the ministry.
“The dance club started with a group of Filipino church members just coming together. Some of us are professionals, some of us are students; we just invited people from the community to join us. We see dance as a way to relieve stress, so we want people to join us if they’re feeling stressed. Our dance session is open to everyone, it’s open for love and sharing,” said Ralph Pacayra, the leader of the dance club. This is his third year leading the dance club. Ralph added that he hoped dance could be a comfort to members feeling homesick or lonely.
The carnival lasted for four hours but the smiles on the members’ faces lasted much longer as they experienced the sweet fruits of their labor.
According to GJ Gonzales, a leader in the Filipino service, 249 adults and 23 children attended the Filipino carnival, a sign that God is hearing the prayers of the ministry for growth, for His glory.
by Beverly Ng