2nd March 2016 is historic in more ways than one.
We saw the breaking of ground for a brand new school, the Wesley Methodist School Penang (International) in Bandar Sungai Sri Pinang site in Georgetown, Penang, which was where the first Methodist School in the country started in 1891. Most of us who came from Mission Schools know the schools as a ready-made building with students and teachers already there. Wesley Methodist School Penang (International) starts from ground zero. The International School will begin with Primary and Secondary education in September 2018, using the Cambridge I.G.C.S.E. syllabus.
After having acquired the land a few years ago, the timeline is now firming up. Bishop Dr Ong Hwai Teik gave an inspiring message entitled Bring To Completion with the scripture text based on II Corinthians 8:1-12, reminding us about the importance of the completion of this project embarked in this generation to provide Education with Mission, Excellence and Compassion.
Praise God for the attendance at this Ground Breaking Service of over 120 people consisting of church members of the Methodist Churches in the North, especially in Penang, and members of the Council of Education and the Wesley Methodist School Board of Management, as well as a few friends from the State Government, some from other churches and the Press. There was a pause as Bishop gamely climbed on to the huge piling machine with the main contractor to maneuver the controls to break ground, which was an interesting change from shoveling the earth with a changkul. May the Lord watch over the construction of this Wesley Methodist School Penang (International) building.
At the afternoon session with some old boys and old girls of Methodist Schools in Penang, Mr Tan Wah Thong, Chairman of ACS International Singapore Board of Management, emphasised that the Alumni is an important stakeholder of the mission school and that we should tap on them.
The highlight of the event was the 7.30 p.m. Parents Forum held at the Methodist Boys’ School Auditorium in Jalan Air Itam. Despite the short notice, more than 200 people turned up, curious to find out about the new Wesley Methodist School Penang (International). Rev. Dr. John Barrett, the former Principal of ACS (International) Singapore gave a very informative talk about what it means to be a Christian School.
Madam Julie Ratnam, the Headmistress of the Primary section of Wesley Methodist School Ipoh (International) gave a short but enthusiastic talk about the primary section accompanied by a short video clip. Then Ms. Moey Yoke Lai, the CEO of Methodist College Kuala Lumpur held the audience with her experience in Methodist Schools, and now Methodist College, providing a broad spectrum of Methodist education that is offered. Wesley Methodist School Kuala Lumpur (International) presented a captivating video of the activities in their school. They had also printed their Newsletter and this was given out in the goodie bag. The more interesting part was of course the Q & A session and the first enquiry was how much the fees are going to be. Ms. Jenny Qua, the Executive Secretary of the Methodist Church in Malaysia moderated the Parents Forum with the other speakers and soon it was time to end the evening.
God’s favour is with us. The response was terrific, from the teamwork in organizing the Ground Breaking Service to the many enquiries for the Parents Forum; from the assistance given by the Yang Berhormats to the church members who rallied support to set up a brand new school. Special thanks to a church in Sitiawan which I had invited for the Service but who responded by asking how they could make a donation. This is a ministry of education for the young in our nation. This is work to honour the Lord.