News Story

Blessings from the 50,000 Community Service Hours Project

When members heard the goal of offering 50,000 hours of community service as part of the 50th anniversary of the Church in Singapore many were surprised.  Their immediate response was, “How can we do it?”

According to Victor Chen, Chairman of the 50th Anniversary Celebration Committee, the Stake was exploring opportunities for members to serve people outside the Church and help bear their burden and comfort them not as a one-time event but throughout the year.

A constant reminder to serve others

At the end of 2019, after many hours of hard work, members and leaders alike said they were inspired by the awesome goal.  “With the 50,000 hours number hanging over our head, we were constantly looking for opportunities to serve others” said Chris Varel who was responsible for organising service projects in the Jurong Ward. 

He was also required to report and track the number of hours that ward members were serving the community. He cited two examples of what individual members could do: one sister was delivering lunch packets to five seniors regularly; another brother was walking his neighbour’s dog every day.  These efforts did not make a huge difference to the number of hours clocked but they did matter to the seniors waiting for their lunch and the neighbour’s dog who perhaps did not understand what was happening.

If we had wanted to count the hours

Because the stake was tracking the service hours at the ward level, every ward had a coordinator whose duty was to organise service projects and encourage all members to participate. The goal for each ward was 5,000 hours.  This roughly translated into one member doing one hour of service every week for a whole year (assuming the ward has 100 active members doing community service).  This was a tall order but not to be discouraged, the ward coordinator organised projects that anyone could participate. Each of these projects could take up to four hours, and with 50 members participating, the ward could clock 200 hours. 

Serving at Willing Hearts

One of the popular service projects was working at the Willing Hearts Soup Kitchen where a ward could send up to 50 members to chop vegetables and help prepare hundreds of lunch boxes.  Almost every ward sent their members to the Willing Hearts kitchen.  The volunteers would later report that they enjoyed themselves, found meaning in what they did, and wanted to return and do more.  Indeed, several wards had repeat outings at the Soup Kitchen.


Sis Ednalyn Sadorra Lagmay, a domestic helper from the 3rd Ward, said, “I had been making beanies and heart-shaped pillows but serving at Willing Hearts was a remarkable experience. It was priceless - I came to know the deeper meaning of service which is giving what you have; commitment is doing without murmuring.  Sunday is my day off when I can sleep in and have some my rest.  But I wake up at 5:00 a.m., go to Willing Hearts and still be on time for the Sacrament meeting in Church at 12:00 noon.  I will never forget my volunteering at Willing Hearts.  I have learned to value and love myself more, I have also learned to love others more.  I make friends and share with them the Gospel of Jesus Christ while working at Willing Hearts.  

Clean the Beach and then have a picnic


Another popular project was cleaning parks and beaches.  Again, this activity allowed anyone to participate, including non-members.  At the end of the activity, the participants would have a picnic, play games and share their food with each other.  One member said, “I did not see the trash in our parks until I started to pick them up during our Ward service project.  Now, my eyes are open.  I wish people would keep our parks clean by not throw their rubbish everywhere.”

Brethren in the kitchen

      When it comes to community service you don’t expect the men to be in the kitchen cooking.  But the Elders Quorum and Young Men of the 2nd Ward did just that.  They spent half a day baking 312 loaves of banana bread, and distributed them to the elderly the following Monday. “Though we are happy in making so much bread, the real joy was in strengthening the brotherhood in our ward,” said Jacob Soh former Bishop of the Ward.

Chronos and Kairos

The 50,000 hours project may seem daunting if one sees only the “chronos” aspect of it - the challenge of getting 100 member serve one hour a week for 52 weeks to meet the Ward’s goal.  However, there is another aspect of the project, the “kairos” aspect.  While chronos refers to the clock as in the number of minutes and hours, “kairos” refers to the “heart” as in the heartbeats when one finds meaning and purpose in doing good, as we should because we are disciples of Christ. 

Service is gospel in action

Sister Jackie Lai of the Newton Ward said, “The service project in 2019 was timely to get members of the Church involved in serving the community, just as many other Churches are doing.  As Christians, serving one another is simply putting the gospel in action.  Now that we have retirees in the Stake we should be able to do more charity work because the retirees are our untapped resources.  In fact, there are some less-active members who would love to participate in community service projects if they are invited.  There is a feeling of goodness and satisfaction when people serve one another.”

Community service is never done

Sister Kathryn Chai shared the same feeling, “One important lesson that comes out of the 50,000 hours of community service project is that we find meaning and purpose when we serve others.  Equally important is that we should continue to provide community service as a Church and as individuals though we would not be counting the hours in 2020.  We should not be serving others, hit our target and say the job is done. Community service work is never done.”

Service is promoting faith

Bishop Patrick Tan of Jurong Ward saw the spiritual aspect of the project.  He said, “The 50,000 community service hours was a big number but with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, miracles happen when members stopped doubting and started working.  It strengthened my faith to see so many of our Jurong Ward members coming out to serve as Christ did.”

Working with our community partners

A great amount of the 50,000 community service hours was achieved by working with other organisations such as the IRCCs (of Telok Blangah and Moulmein Cairnhill), the Al-Mawaddah Mosque, the Lions Befrienders, SUN-DAC and Jamiyah Singapore. 

May 2019 - “Saviours of Sengkang Project"


The Compassvale Ward, working with the Al-Mawadda Mosque, Ride of Hope Cycling Group, Sengkang South Community Centre, The Arulmigu Velmurugan Gnana Muneeswarar Temple (AVGMT) and the Meridian Junior College packed and distributed rice and groceries to over 290 low-income families in the neighbourhood.

November 2019 - SUN-DAC Funfair

120 members across the Stake organised a fun-fair for SUN-DAC, a day-care centre for people with intellectual disability.  Members came away with an appreciation and compassion for people with disability who had a passion for life as much as themselves.

December 2019 - Take Seniors Christmas Shopping


Jurong Ward members visited some 20 seniors at their home in the Telok Blangah Crescent neighbourhood, befriended them and a week later, took them for lunch and shopping for Christmas.

December 2019 - Seniors Outing and Entertainment


Sengkang Ward members took 30 seniors and bus them to the Jewel at the airport, took them shopping for Christmas and treated them to a lunch with entertainment at the Sengkang Chapel.

Hygiene Kits - Days for Girls


 The Relief Society Sisters had an on-going weekly working session at the Stake Centre making hygiene kits under the sponsorship of “Days for Girls”.  In addition to the production of the kits, the sisters had travelled to Myanmar and the Philippines to run workshops and train local women leaders on how to use the hygiene kits, and hopefully to produce the kits themselves.

Heart-shaped Pillows and Beanies


Always eager to engage in good works, the Stake Relief Society leaders organised working sessions for the sisters to produce beanies and heart-shaped pillows for hospitals and the Jamiyah Nursing Home.

Missionaries volunteered at the Jamiyah Nursing Home

Twice a week four missionaries turned up at the Jamiyah Nursing Home to talk to the patients and push them around in their wheelchairs.  They would also take them out for  strolls and even accompany them at the nearby hawker centre.  They did this for three months, September to December.

Inter-faith partners shared our community service goals

Based on our shared interest in community service, our Church and Jamiyah Singapore successfully co-organised the first-in-Singapore Community Iftar held in a Christian church.  This event drew national news coverage, giving high visibility to the Church as a promoter of inter-faith harmony.  With 700 guests representing different faiths, including Government ministers, law makers, ambassadors and diplomats the Community Iftar was indeed an opportunity to serve others at a different level.

President Butel: “Way to give back to the Community”

In summing up the 50th anniversary celebration, Stake President, Jean Luc-Butel said, “The 50,000 service hours project to celebrate our 50th anniversary in Singapore was indeed a beautiful way to give back to the community.   As we are blessed to render such services the words found in Matthew 25:40 resonate meaningfully…"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

“We express our deep gratitude and appreciation to all those who participated in these service activities. We hope that this spirit of reaching out and serving in our community will continue in 2020 and beyond.”

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