At City Harvest Church’s annual general meeting last Sunday, it was announced that the building fund amount of S$310m for its Suntec premise has been met two years ahead of schedule.
There will foreseeably be no further Arise and Build campaigns for Suntec Convention Centre. This was the biggest piece of news at CHC’s annual general meeting on the afternoon of May 27, 2018. The CHC Board’s projection up to 2017 was that it would take up to year 2020 for the church to meet its $310m budget for the premises, and for the use of Suntec to become self-sustaining.
The news was received with loud applause from the executive members of the church present at the Suntec auditorium last Sunday, as well as the ministry and ordinary members who had sat in to listen.
A number of factors contributed to this happy outcome: the yearly building fund collections had met targets, and the tithes and offerings collected throughout the year remained consistent. Additionally, the dividends the church received from its Suntec investment were more than healthy in the past few years. Secondly, the successful negotiation for a partial early repayment of the Glory loan taken to finance Suntec spelled lower costs for the church. The cost-cutting measures taken by the church organization and its staff in recent years helped keep the bottom line in good shape. This all resulted in savings in the church’s general fund that the Board then decided to use to meet the building fund amount that was initially to be collected in 2019 and 2020.
The Board was careful to note that this scenario has a remote chance of changing if the congregation size changes substantially, or if there is a notable variation in future dividends received.
“Church, we are confident that God who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion (Phil 1:6). As long as, every one of us does his or her part, [is] faithful in his tithes and offerings, God will perform His miracle of provision,” said Bobby Chaw, vice-president of the CHC Board.
The Board also announced, in the church’s continual quest to exercise good governance, a whistle-blowing policy has been introduced. This policy, similarly exercised by government agencies and major corporations worldwide, allows persons who have knowledge to safely report wrongdoings and objectionable behaviour displayed by church leaders, church staff and cell group leaders.
President of the Board, Aries Zulkarnain explained: “CHC is committed to strong corporate governance and does not tolerate any malpractice, statutory non-compliance or serious wrongdoing. As part of CHC’s values, the Board Members and the staff of CHC are expected to maintain high standards of corporate and personal ethics, honesty and integrity in fulfilling their responsibilities within all applicable laws and regulations.
“We seek to promote a culture of openness and accountability, and this policy intends to establish a confidential avenue for reporting by employees or outside parties of such matters, without fear of any unfair treatment as a result of their report. It aims to reassure whistle-blower that they would be protected from reprisals in respect of concerns raised in good faith.”
The details of the policy can be viewed on the church website.
In September 2017, CHC obtained judgment against AMAC Capital and former fund manager Chew Eng Han for the full sum of its claim totalling $20.5m. This sum is made up of the principal sum of $16.3m and interest of $4.2m up to the date of judgment. Chew decided not to contest this judgment.
At this juncture, with Chew serving his sentence, ostensibly until 2021, the Board will continue to work with its legal advisors to do the necessary to complete the process of exploring what assets AMAC Capital and Chew have to try and enforce the judgment. There has been no new investment made by the church since the last tranche of SOF investment in 2010.
The Board members for 2018/2019 were voted in by the Executive Members, with the majority of the Board remaining. Rick Chan, who served as the Board’s Head for its Investment Committee, stepped down from his post with an encouraging word to members of the church to step up and serve the church as a Board member.
CHC BOARD OF 2018/2019:
President: Rev Aries Zulkarnain
Vice-president: Rev Bobby Chaw
Secretary: Ee Boon Kiat
Treasurer: Vincent Ong
Members: Rev Ho Yeow Sun, Lee Kiam Hiong, Lee Tat Haur, Keith Lim, Dr Francis Seow Choen and Cindy Tan Lay Kuan.