In September 2011 Trinity Methodist Church, PJ, was offered “ready-made” premises in a three-storey shop-lot rentfree at Kayu Ara Business Park near Bandar Utama for a three-year tenancy plus two years option. That was the beginning of the birth of a new preaching point – Bandar Utama Methodist Centre (BUMC). The church grew from a humble beginning with fewer than 20 worshippers to an average weekly attendance of 45 worshippers today.
Of course there were challenges in terms of the lack of manpower in the outreach ministry and in church growth. Though BUMC is a small congregation, many worshippers find warmth, care and fellowship in the church. The bond of friendship, care and unity among worshippers has become the hallmark of BUMC.
In April 2013 the TRAC President, Rev Dr T Jeyakumar, preached at a BUMC service and he “revisited” the idea of planting a church in Kota Damansara (an idea that existed even before settling for Bandar Utama). Thus he re-ignited the fire on the original mission mooted. He shared with the BUMC Committee members that the new location could come under the auspices of TRAC and TMCPJ because BUMC had limited experienced manpower.
All things being equal, some worshippers in BUMC felt sad to move from its current location as BUMC was a small growing preaching point and the worshippers were closely knitted. Therefore, their sense of separation and the proximity of the church to their residence could be possible contributing reasons to their sadness. Consequently, some members questioned the rationale and wisdom in the move. "Quo vadis, quo vadis? – why are we moving?” Giving them space to air their feelings of sadness on the proposed move and their sentimental attachment to BUMC after two and a half years worshipping there was understandable. But only God has the answer to answer their question “Why?”
Perhaps some words of wisdom from my former teacher, the late Mr Khoo Kay Hock, can provide some solace for them:
"The road that leads to Christ my Lord is one that I should take,
The road to serve my fellow men seems tiresome and long
The road to sacrifice is fraught with danger and with woe
The road to joy is promised me when all my work is done
Quo vadis, quo vadis? Twill be wherever You be.”
BIRTH OF LIVING STONE METHODIST CHURCH (LSMC).
Towards the end of October 2013 a possible building site was found at Cova Square Mall in Kota Damansara. Some LCEC members of TMCPJ together with the TRAC President went to view the locality and were in favour of the place. After all the necessary nitty-gritty and red-tape were completed, and the LCEC gave approval to sign the tenancy agreement with the owner for two years’ duration, the budget for renovation of the place was passed, and things started to move in earnest to get the place renovated to beat the CNY closure disruptions by contractors in January 2014.
If there is anyone deserving praise or congratulations who diligently organised and got all the renovations done almost single-handedly (with some assistance from brother Steven Ooi), it is none other than our brother Loo Kau Fa. I bear witness on how these brothers laboured tirelessly to bring the renovations to its finality within the given time frame. Due to their unfailing efforts, the inauguration service was made possible on 16th February 2014. Praise the Lord for His faithful servants.
ADIEU TO BUMC
The last worship service at BUMC was held on 9th February 2014. Subsequently all services would be held at the new church LSMC. The preacher for the closing service in BUMC on that day was Rev Ting Moy Hong who spoke on “An Invitation to partner God in His Good Work.” God is good all the time. For He calls upon His people to follow Him and at the same time He gives them a choice whether to accept or reject His calling.
A righteous man who walks in fear of the Lord will not be afraid of evil tidings for his heart remains steadfast, trusting in the Lord and all evil shall perish before him. The glory of God shall be his rear guard and the Lord will answer his call. Even though he suffers from personal insufficiency, the Spirit of the Lord will empower him to overcome his inadequacy. The Spirit of God searches all things, even the deep things of God. Therefore, be the salt of the earth and the light of the world so that others who see your goodness will glorify the Father in heaven. “Hineni--Here I am,” O Lord. The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:7)
To bid adieu to BUMC brings some degree of sadness but it ended with joy as we celebrated brother Steven Ooi’s birthday. So instead of having an emotional parting in the sanctuary, it turned into a joyous occasion for the birthday boy. The congregation sang “Happy Birthday” to him with a blessing by Rev Ting Moy Hong, followed by the cake cutting ceremony. The dual contrasting occasions reminded me of what David said in Psalm 30: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” How true it is in our walk of faith with God.
THE INAUGURATION SERVICE OF LSMC
Sunday 16th February 2014 was an auspicious day in the dedication of the new church to honour the Lord. The TRAC President chose the name “Living Stone” in its metaphorical sense — “spiritual and eternal life in fullness in Jesus Christ.” In 1 Peter 2: 4-12, Jesus Christ is the precious Cornerstone which the builders rejected that has become our Chief Cornerstone. Jesus Christ is the Leader of His church.
The preacher for the service was TRAC President, Rev Dr T Jeyakumar. His sermon was on ”A Model Church” based on 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 on what constituted a perfect church which many Christians are searching for. Theologically speaking, there is no “perfect church” but definitely an “exemplary church” like the one referred to in Thessalonica by Apostle Paul. The believers in Thessalonica were remembered for their examples in faith, love and hope in God through Christ Jesus.
• Their faith in Christ led them to ceaseless good work knowing that their effort was not in vain in the Lord;
• Their love for God prompted them to labour for God without counting the cost, and
• Their hope with patient endurance through the Holy Spirit until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
A model church lives out the gospel and spreads the good news. How can LSMC become a model church?
An idealistic mission to plant God’s vineyard in Kota Damansara has now become a reality. The spiritual journey begins with the first step of encouraging more members of TRAC churches who reside around Kota Damansara to come forward to serve God in Living Stone Methodist Church.
Finally, I would like to share the “Prayer Hymn” composed by the late Mr Khoo Kay Hock on the faithfulness in God’s people:
What the future has for our church
Lies with every stalwart one,
Let us all be faithful and true
Till the final victory’s won.
God’s grace be with every Christian
May God richly bless his life,
Keep him safe and ever guide him
Free his days from fruitless strife. Amen.
James Teh Swee Huat.