John the Baptist prepared the people for the
coming of Messiah Jesus Christ. Yet, how strange
& impactful words the disciples of John the Baptist
heard that day. Their leader told them that Jesus
is the Lamb of God; that he represented what all
those thousands of lambs over the generations
have symbolised, and that he not only take their
sins away, but that of the whole gentile world as
well! John also emphasized Jesus humanity (Jesus
was born after John) & his deity (yet, Jesus
existed before John). And based on a sign God
gave him, John the Baptist further attested that Jesus will baptise with the Holy
Spirit & that He is the Son of God. We need to realise that while we are children of
God through baptism, Jesus is the eternal Son of God & is in equal standing with his
Heavenly Father & the Holy Spirit. We are sinners & Jesus is God’s only Saviour from
sin. Let us fully comprehend who Jesus really is, before we proclaim him to the
world & what He came to do!
About 100 parishioners spent their second day of the new year in church attending the Parish Assembly. The purpose of the assembly was to review the past year and chart the course for the new year.
In his opening address, Fr John Sim introduced the theme for the year, which was "Community of Disciples."
Fr John urged individual parishioners and ministries to work together for the common good and not for personal gain.
Mr Michael Chong, the Chairman of the Parish Pastoral Council, then gave a quick run-through of the events that took place in the past year.
The biggest project the parish undertook in 2016 was the Parish Mission. Most agreed that the mission itself was a success. But the follow-up phase - the setting up of the Neighbourhood Christian Communities (NCCs) - was flat. We were not able to set up as many new neighbourhood cell groups as we had hoped to.
Trainers from the Office for New Evangelisation (ONE) are currently conducting a programme to train up potential NCC coordinators. Hopefully, once they are trained, they will be better equipped and more confidant to set up a new NCC in their own blocks.
Mr Chong explained the difference between "ministry" and "community". A ministry is task oriented. A person may be involved in ministry work without being engaged in community.
To be in community is to be more intimately involved in the lives of a group of fellow Christians.
Many parishioners are in fact engaged in community with members of their ministry, such as the choir or the Legion of Mary. But if a parishioner does not have the time to be involved in a church ministry, then it is a good idea to be attached an NCC closest to his/her block. Every parishioner should be involved at least one church community.
Participants then broke up into smaller groups to brainstorm on how we can build up our parish community.
Many groups expressed the need for the various ministries to work together. This will not only save much time and resources but also result in more effective outcomes.
One participant felt that the church could do more for the lost sheep among our parishioners.
Another expressed the need to create pathways for our catechism children in confirmation year and our catechumen, so that they will continue to be involved in ministry after their confirmation and baptism respectively.
The newly elected PPC will soon be meeting to discuss the suggestions thrown up in the group sharing.
Fr John noted that the Parish Assembly has just ended and everyone was feeling high. But we have to work hard in the months to come to bring our plans to reality.