Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer
All You Need To Know About The Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer
A Lutheran denomination in Singapore is called the Lutheran Church in Singapore (LCS). It was founded in 1997 and today has around 2,834 members among seven congregations. Building LCOR and making it Singapore’s first Lutheran church requires a lot of kind and giving hearts, trust and belief, and God’s immeasurable mercy. The Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer was consecrated on March 6th, 1960, by the Rev. John R. Nelson (the tallest man in the upper photo, sixth from the left). The following is an excerpt from an interview Amy Toh and Jennie Smith, two of our church’s women, had with the Rev. John Nelson.
Establishing the First Lutheran Church in Singapore
The Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer Conference in Malaya worked on the LCOR initiative. The Lutheran Conference in Malaya was established in 1957 by a coalition of three different Lutheran organisations. Along with missionaries from the American Lutheran Mission, there were pastors from the Tamil Lutheran Church and lay representatives from the Batak Church (Huria Kristen Batak Protestant Church).
One of the conference’s goals was to start a church in Singapore. Additionally, the one at the Naval Base was simply a temporary timber structure over which the Tamil Lutheran Church had no legal claim to have a Lutheran church building. We planned to construct a church in Singapore with them, but the Admiralty had permitted them to do so.
Difficulties with securing the land
The Bukit Ho Swee fire caused a delay in the construction of the new town (Queenstown) Lutheran; the mission would not be able to take control of the site until the middle of the 1960s. We had applied to the Singapore Improvement Trust for a plot of land in Queenstown. Therefore, we decided to move forward and seek other options for constructing a church in a prime location in Singapore. One of its members, Ms Amal, deeded some land to the Tamil Lutheran Church. She had agreed to provide under the condition that a church erected there.
The Big Dedication Event
About 300 members, Tamil and Batak congregations attended the dedication Tamil congregation brought five Royal Palm trees to symbolise the five groups that had collaborated to fund the building. These trees planted during the ceremony. Along with our Lutheran Mission, we had representatives from the Batak and Tamil churches. And a missionary nurse who was with us at the time, Martha Reed, represented the Lutheran Women’s Fellowship. We had Rusty Wieburg, a classmate who happened to be in Singapore at the time since he was a chaplain on a ship calling Singapore, to represent ULCA. Pastors for the English and Chinese services chosen soon after the Dedication.
Congregations in both Chinese and English
Pastor Matzat put in a lot of effort to start the Chinese congregation. He could communicate with those residing in the Chinese kampong (kampong term for a settlement) close to the church since he was fluent in Mandarin. When he went there, he identified a few Christians and invited them to church. He also talked to them about the Bible to pique their curiosity. Until early 1961, when Pastor Matzat and his family had to leave Singapore for Germany, the Chinese church was starting to form rather successfully.
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