PASTORAL WORD ON THE ACM
Dear Zion Bishan,
I said this during ACM. It is good to also publish it church-wide. I apologize that we cannot have an in-person ACM. As explained, we do not have time to plan for a hybrid ACM that ensures we are within the remits of the law. I apologize also for the haste in which the church building upgrading matter was proposed and not communicated as well as it could have been.
And I thank you also for your partnership in the Gospel. The past two years have been challenging beyond measure in so many ways. We have to make decisions relating to the safe management measures and yet care for the worshippers and continued church operations and growth. Oftentimes we have only a few days, sometimes one, to make decisions.
But you have patiently worked alongside the leadership. I believe it was your hard work and heart-work that God is pleased to bless Zion Bishan with growth even during the pandemic. But growth brings other challenges. We face the issues of the lack of ministry space and also the growth of ministry opportunities, especially among the ethnic and elderly ministries.
It was because of these issues that the Church Building Upgrading Project (CBUP) was birthed. Decisions that involve a project of this size and cost are not easy. But it is a necessary burden and responsibility of leadership. On the one hand, there are monetary costs to consider. On the other are opportunity costs to weigh. The leadership takes both very cautiously and seriously.
Various leadership levels and stakeholders were engaged. All agreed on the merits and necessity of the CBUP. All was well and according to plan, and so we thought. Then the Ukraine war started, the Sri Lanka riots, inflation, imminent risks of global recession, and countries started to ban or control their exports of daily necessities leading to rising costs.
Lives and livelihoods are expected to be adversely affected. Church members rightly are concerned if this is the best time to commence the CBUP and commit to another 5.5 million dollars. We hear the concerns of the people. After much prayer and discussions, the leadership is convicted that while the project is necessary, it may not be the best time to proceed.
Church leaders are at once stewards and shepherds. We give our best to multiply our God-entrusted talents. We also do our best to care for, where possible the entirety of, the flock. While the vote count returned with 81% approving the CBUP. God led both the Session and BOD to a unanimous decision that the voices of the 19% are important.
We need to hear them. We heard you. As shepherds, we are concerned for you. Hence, we will defer the matter of the CBUP for six months. During this, we will continue to engage the members through the AGs, dialogues, etc. We will also at the same time monitor the socio-economic situation. We will review the matter at a later date.
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” (Proverbs 19:21)
Pastor Alby Yip