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New bishop for Anglicans in Singapore

Publication Date : 13-05-2012


The Anglican church has chosen a new Bishop of Singapore.

He is the Right Reverend Rennis Ponniah, 56, who becomes the ninth bishop after having served as assistant bishop.

Concurrently the vicar of St John's-St Margaret's Church in Dover Avenue, he will succeed Bishop John Chew, who steps down in October after 12 years at the helm.

Word of the new appointment came yesterday from Archbishop of South-east Asia Bolly Lapok at a synod meeting of some 200 lay leaders and clergy at St Andrew's Village in Potong Pasir.

A diocese spokesman said a few candidates had been shortlisted for the position in March, following a vote by clergy and lay leaders at another synod meeting.

These names were then sent to the bishops of the four dioceses in the Anglican Province of South- east Asia, namely, Bishop of Singapore John Chew, Bishop of Kuching Bolly Lapok, Bishop of Sabah Albert Vun Cheong Fui and Bishop of West Malaysia Ng Moon Hing.

The new bishop was chosen through prayer, interviews and careful consideration, said the spokesman.

Rev Ponniah, a former civil servant, is an old boy of Anglo-Chinese School. He attended the National University of Singapore, where he majored in sociology and mathematics. He is married and has four children.

In a statement, he said he was humbled by the trust invested in him and received the responsibility with faith in God.

"I intend to build on the good work of Bishop John Chew and his predecessors, while seeking fresh ways to bring the love and hope of the Good News of our faith to a multi-religious and constantly- changing society in a responsible and winsome way," he said.

Ms Angeline Koh, 30, a volunteer worker who attends St John's- St Margaret's Church, said she was thrilled that her church's vicar would be the country's next bishop.

She said: "I have found him an excellent and encouraging leader who models Christian love to his staff and congregation. He has a very gentle, encouraging and approachable way about him, and I feel privileged to have him as the Bishop of Singapore."

The mood at yesterday's meeting was also one of gratitude to Bishop John Chew, said a lay leader at the meeting.

Dr Chew, required by the Church to retire when he turns 65 in October, was Archbishop of the province of South-east Asia for six of his 12 years in the post.

There are more than 30,000 Anglicans in Singapore, who worship at 27 parishes across the island.

The Anglican church also runs the St Andrew's Community Hospital and Autism Centre, and Singapore Anglican Community Services, which operates a crisis shelter and four psychiatric health rehabilitation centres.

There are also 10 Anglican schools, among them St Margaret's Primary and Secondary schools and the St Andrew's family of schools.


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