Dear Brethren,

Update for our search of a new premises

Since last year September 2011 when the Church land owner Bethany Evangelical Free Church (BEFC) wanted us to start our worship time one hour later at 4pm from 1 April 2012, we have begun the search for a new Church premises. We have constantly sought the Lord in prayer to lead and provide us a new premises according to His good will. Every Tuesday night prayer meeting, we prayed to the Lord for His provision for us and we look to the Lord for help. Psalm 121:1-2, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.”

While we have been happily and comfortably settled in BEFC for about 15 years and doing our part as good tenant by paying our rent dutifully and keeping the church compound clean, we know the Lord has His higher purpose for us. Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.’’ There are many of you who have been praying and I urge you to continue fervently to seek the Lord for His provision. Many of you are very concerned and asked me for the latest update and hence I thought it is best to write for all to read to know of the current situation.

From now till 1 April 2012, it is a 2-month period for us to make a decision of any change of premises. We know it is not ideal to start the worship service time at 4pm as this means the Sunday School classes will end at 7pm. We have been searching to rent suitable Church premises or any available halls and rooms for our use from 3pm to 6pm and possibly followed by dinner fellowship. We have also tried to find out possible places to purchase too.

The Church Session members have visited 2 Church premises which seem to indicate their willingness to allow us to rent their place. The first place we went was at Changi Bethany Church which is located at Upper Changi Road East, not far from the Expo area. The 4th University SUTD will be built just behind it by 2015 and a new MRT station will also be built opposite the Church by 2017. This is a Chinese Presbyterian Church which has its worship service in the morning and their premises is rented to Hope Presbyterian Church with an English worship service at 11am. In the afternoon, the premises is not used. It is spacious and has the right room-sizes for both our English and Chinese worship services and all our Sunday School classes too. There is a nice fellowship area for dinner and sufficient spaces for carpark for our congregation. The Church has a 30-year lease from the government which will expire by 2018. The government is likely to renew it for another 30 years but the cost of it is likely to be S$8 million as told to us. Changi Bethany Church is looking for anchor tenants who can share in this cost and these anchor tenant churches will be given the assurance to stay in their premises for the next 30 years.

We are currently waiting for Changi Bethany Church to let us know if they are willing to rent their premises to us and the rental cost of it. From our discussion, we expect a relatively high rental cost. Currently, BEFC allows us to pay our rental cost as a love gift decided by us and we pay at $1200 per month. It has been about 4 weeks and we are still waiting for an official reply from Changi Bethany Church. With the delay in reply, we do not know what is happening. It is an ideal place in our eyes but we submit to God’s will who knows best which premises is right for our Church. The other Church we visited is Zion Presbyterian Church, also a Chinese church, which owns a 5-story building at Geylang Lorong 25A. The Church is very kind to allow us to use their 3rd level for our worship service and Sunday School classes from 3pm to 6pm. Their other floors are used by other Churches in the afternoon. The space is tight and it is not possible to have concurrent English and Chinese worship services. Due to space constraints, the Sunday School classes will be at close proximity and it can be noisy. The premises has limited carpark space and also we cannot stay after 6pm. But the Church is very kind not to fix any rental amount and we can give the rent as a love gift. We know that if we use this premises, there will be many adjustments for us. The premises is available for us and we told the Church that we will let them know before 1 April. Pray for God’s will.

By God’s grace, we will be visiting a 3rd Church at Bethany Presbyterian Church, Upper Paya Lebar Road, on 11 February 2012. There is a possibility to rent their premises in the afternoon but we do not know what are the worship halls and Sunday School rooms available for us. I was only told there is a youth worship service in the afternoon. Again, pray for God’s leading.

I was given a contact of a property agent for Church premises and was told of an unit at 10 Lorong 24 Geylang for sale. The land area is 1400sqf freehold and the asking price is $1.9M. Is it God’s will for us to purchase a property for our Church? We need wisdom from the Lord to make such an important decision and to trust God to provide our needs for the purchase. The current plan of the Church Session is for rental and not purchase of any premises. However, we will follow the Lord’s leading.

Where will we be on 1 April 2012? Our Heavenly Father knows and has prepared the way and the place we should be. We will pray, wait upon our Lord, and trust Him to lead us forward for His glory. Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Elder John Leong