History of Changi Bethany Church
In 1964, Miss Lu Ti Gu, an elderly sister who loved the Lord, dedicated a piece of land to build a church with a view to spread the Gospel. This piece of land on 31 Lorong Chabai at Koh Sek Lim Village, was originally intended for a female missionary sanatorium.
A trustee was formed by four elders, namely, Luo Ka Bek, Lim Tong Siu, Gan Kiong Pang and Peter Sia, and began the plan to build the church, naming it “Bethany Church.”
In 1964, Preacher Mabel Ong, the first preacher of Bethany Church, began the pioneering work of reaching out to the youth and the neighbouring residents.
In September 1975, Preacher Richard Teo was engaged as the church’s second preacher.
On 25 September 1977, Bethany Church was registered as one of the churches under the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Singapore. As the name “Bethany Church” had already been taken by one of the Presbyterian churches, it was renamed Changi Bethany Church (CBC).
The first Elders and Deacons Board was established.
In 1979, an afternoon Hokkien-Chinese service was started.
In 1980, the English service led by Preacher Yap Wai Keong began.
In 1981, CBC received notice that the government would be acquiring the land for development. The church faced the challenge of being relocated.
Although the congregation comprised mostly of senior citizens, students and blue-collar workers, CBC prayerfully pressed on with full confidence and hope to preach His Word.
On 20 October 1984, Pastor Richard Teo Ee Hock was appointed as CBC’s first Senior Pastor.
In 1987, the land was acquired by the government and CBC entered its period of migratory sojourn.
In 1988, Bethany moved from 31 Lorong Chabai to Joo Chiat Presbyterian Centre.
In the same year, Jurong Town Corporation allocated the land on 694 Upper Changi Road East, Singapore 486824 to Singapore Life Church, Bethany Presbyterian Church and Changi Bethany Church for a 30-year lease.
Both Singapore Life Church and Bethany Presbyterian Church generously gave up their share to bless CBC.
On 14 July 1991, a thanksgiving ground-breaking worship service was conducted.
In 1993, Joo Chiat Presbyterian Centre’s land was also acquired. CBC then moved to Holy Grace Presbyterian Church and held its evening services there.
In May 1994, upon completion of the first phase of the church building, CBC moved to its new location to celebrate its 30th anniversary. The basement auditorium was named Ka Bek Hall, commemorating the late Elder Lok Ka Bek’s contribution to the development of CBC.
In July 1994, the church started a kindergarten along with an outreach ministry to provide quality early childhood education in Changi and the neighbouring communities.
After moving to the new church building in 1994, besides CBC’s existing morning English worship service, a group of brothers and sisters from other churches started an afternoon English worship service.
In June 1997, a ground-breaking thanksgiving service for the second phase of church building was conducted.
Soon after the second phase of the church building was completed in 1998, besides CBC’s existing morning English worship service, a group of brothers and sisters from several other churches came together to start an afternoon English worship service.
In December 2001, the afternoon English worship service was integrated with CBC’s existing English service.
In July 2002, Rev Richard Teo went for his sabbatical study leave. Rev Andrew Hwang was appointed as the Interim Moderator.
In 2004, the sanctuary on the 3rd floor was named “Tong Siu Hall” in commemoration of the faithful service of Elder Lim Tong Siu.
In January 2005, the English service was registered under the English Presbytery as an English congregation, and was named Hope Presbyterian Church.
On 15 April 2007, the Chinese youth worship service began.
On 5 July 2008, Rev Richard Teo Ee Hock retired from the senior pastor position and, together with his wife Preacher Ong Chau Sang, were appointed local missionaries, serving the elderly community at Tampines Evergreen Circle.
In July 2008, Rev Dr Phua Leong Cheng Michael was appointed as CBC’s Interim Moderator.
In May 2009, the traditional Hokkien-Mandarin service was divided into two separate service – a Hokkien service and a Mandarin service, with the Chinese youth worship integrated into the Mandarin service.
In July 2010, Rev Chau Soo Kheong was appointed as CBC’s second senior pastor and moderator.
On 2 April 2013, the kindergarten was converted into a childcare centre and renamed “Changi Bethany School-House”.
In September 2013, to consolidate its resources and to be more effective in serving the community, the Hokkien service was terminated, in preparation for a bilingual English-Chinese worship service.
On 10 August 2014, CBC celebrated its 50th anniversary.
2015 - Present
In 2015, the English-Chinese worship service began.
On 21 October 2017, the Downtown Line became fully operational, passing through 16 MRT stations, providing vast opportunities for CBC to serve the community.
In June 2018, Rev Chau Soo Kheong completed his term of office as the second Senior Pastor and Moderator.
On 1 July 2018, Rev Dr. Phua Leong Cheng Michael was appointed as the third Senior Pastor and Moderator of CBC.
In August 2018, the English-Chinese service was replaced by an English worship service held at 9am. The Mandarin worship service was moved to 11am.
In October 2018, the Abundant Life Centre was established to serve the community’s senior citizens, providing them a place for continuing education, as well as promoting physical and spiritual well-being.
On 31 July 2018, the first 30-year lease expired and the lease was renewed for another 30 years (from 1 September 2018 to 31 August 2048).
In January 2019, pastoral care groups (PCG) were formed to provide better pastoral care, communication, ministry opportunities and outreach.
On 23 May 2019, by God’s grace, the entire 30-year land-lease renewal amount of more than S$7 million was fully paid up.
On 8 June 2019, the land-lease renewal project was completed.
God answered our prayers that CBC would owe nothing but the debt of the gospel.
We are deeply grateful to God for another 30 years of opportunity to serve Him in the current location. By His grace, we dedicate ourselves, with one mind and one accord, to build a people of faith that blesses the community and glorify His name.
For other news about CBC, please refer to our 50th Anniversary Magazine