by Pr Nancy Lim
GPC Strum and Sing is a new outreach activity started by the Evangelism ministry in April this year. It is held on the first Saturday of each month. Each time, we have a different theme, such as songs from the 60s, and for this coming session on 2 September, ABBA Songs. There are opportunities for non-Christians to hear the gospel and get to know Christians while making music together.
This initiative began as a result of the encouraging response we received from the first two rounds of our beginner’s guitar classes that we offered free of charge to our Toh Yi neighbours one year ago. We also had some participants from other parts of Singapore. We are pleased that the fourth round of our beginner’s guitar class will start on 2 September. Much appreciation to Robin Choo and his team for serving the Lord and our neighbours faithfully with their time and talents.
The Strum and Sing is a way that we can continue to connect with the participants who had completed the course. We saw an increase in the attendance over time as word went around, both through our publicity and by word of mouth. I have also observed that friendships started to blossom among the regulars, comprising a mix of Christians and non-Christians.
As Singapore’s National Day approached, we saw this as an occasion to gather many people among our families, friends, and neighbours to celebrate a significant milestone - 58 years of independence as a nation. We decided to hold a Strum and Sing NDP songs event on 5 August in our church. This is also a great opportunity for fellow Christians to invite their non-Christians family members and friends to attend this event.
Our church is blessed to have two pioneers of the Xinyao movement, Rev Forest Koh (许南盛) and Pr Jeremy Chew (周永聪), on our pastoral team. So we invited Rev Forest and Pr Jeremy as the special guests for this outreach event. For those who are not familiar with Xinyao, it began as a Chinese-language music movement in Singapore in the 1980s by some young local singers and songwriters. I enjoyed listening to and singing Xinyao songs with my friends when I was a teenager in school.
Many guests came for this event on that day. Those from the guitar beginners class also came with their guitars. Rev Forest gave his testimony and together with Pr Jeremy, they brought back some fond memories to the participants with a few familiar Xinyao songs, as well as their own compositions. Some of them said that they wished we had included more Xinyao songs.
On that morning, we had one treat after another. It was such a joy to see a small group of our children coming up to the front, singing and dancing to the tune of the more recent NDP songs. This is a great testimony to our visitors that different generations of Jesus’s followers can come together in this manner to enjoy such a wonderful time.
I had the opportunity to interact with some newcomers when our visitors stayed behind to enjoy a meal with us. I met a group of seniors who are in their late 70s and some are already in their 80s. They are the parents of our church member, Ming Thio, and her parents’ non-Christian friends from their university days! I could sense that they enjoyed the event a lot. One of them even brought a book written by Rev Forest many years ago, to ask for his autograph.
When I asked Ming how did her parents and their friends feel about the event, she said “They found the event very enjoyable and felt the hospitality and warm fellowship of our church community. They are not very mobile and are home-bound most of the time, so I think they look forward to this kind of inter-generational events. They especially enjoyed the kids’ impromptu performance! Thanks again and hope there will be more in future!”
Music can connect people together. We can also use it wisely to bring people to the Lord. This is one way that our Evangelism ministry is trying to cast the seed of the Gospel widely and prayerfully hope that some will fall into good soil and yield a plentiful harvest.
Log on to https://vimeo.com/glorypresbyterian/strumsingxinyao for the “Strum and Sing NDP cum Xinyao songs” held on 5 August and sign up @ gpc.sg/strumandsing for our next Strum and Sing session on 2 Sep 2023, 2pm - 4pm.