Bishop Wee Boon Hup, President of the National Council of Churches of Singapore Dr Lawrence Chia, Chairman of the Evangelical Fellowship of Singapore Friends, Singaporeans and all the guests here I am very happy to be with all of you today!
[Applause] I am delighted that you have filled the stadium
— 50,000 strong [applause] for this Jubilee Day of Prayer. It is the largest multi-denominational Christian event in Singapore’s history. [Applause] It is a very significant moment when the whole Protestant community comes together for prayer and thanksgiving in our nation’s 50th year. For Christians, since time immemorial, the Jubilee year has had special significance. In the Old Testament, a Jubilee was the 50th year at the end of seven sabbatical cycles. [Applause] And the Jubilee is a year of great celebration. People spent time with their families. They enjoyed their harvest — and we have had a bountiful harvest. They freely shared what they had with each other, especially with the poor. So I think it is very fitting that for SG50, we celebrate a Jubilee in Singapore. [Applause] Celebrate with family and friends, and give thanks for what we have achieved these 50 years. Rejoice in the fruits of the labours of our pioneers, the Pioneer Generation — many of you will be here today. [Applause] And pledge ourselves to do better for our future and our children, and pledge our children to do better for themselves. [Applause] And we reach out to the less fortunate amongst us and help our fellow citizens, and not just fellow citizens but fellow men and women in Singapore. I am very happy that the collection from today’s Jubilee offering will go towards the poor and needy. [Applause] This is the spirit of the Jubilee – togetherness, thankfulness and generosity – that we must nurture, and that will see us into the future. [Applause] A future in which all our communities, including our Protestant community, will have full roles to play. The Protestants have done important work, helping us to build Singapore over the last 50 years. In education, the schools started by your missionaries moulded young men and women of character. [Applause] I did not attend a Protestant mission school — I went to a Catholic school. But my children – two sons – went to one of the Protestant mission schools, [applause] for which I am very grateful.
[Applause] In social services, your community has built up an extensive network of charitable services. I attended the 100th anniversary of the St Andrew’s Mission Hospital last year and could see the good work which had been done over a whole century. You serve the less privileged in Singapore regardless of race, language or religion. [Applause] We all share a common humanity together. You have also played a key role in helping us to maintain racial and religious harmony. I would especially like to thank the church leaders and the community for understanding our multi-racial and multi-religious context, for guiding your flocks to practise your faiths with moderation and restraint while respecting people of other faiths and the practices of other religions. [Applause] I thank you for building trust and mutual confidence with other religious groups, between the groups as well as between the leaders, so that we can all live harmoniously together and solve problems amicably and cooperatively together. [Applause] Singapore is a secular country, but many of our people are deeply religious and take their different faiths seriously. As I said yesterday at the Catholic Mass, the Government considers this a good thing. [Applause] It has given us right values, it has given us a moral compass, and it has not stopped us from coming together as one people. [Applause] So this weekend, I am attending quite a number of religious thanksgivings and celebrations for SG50. [Applause] Yesterday, I attended the Catholic Mass — Joy SG50. [Applause] Last night, I attended a grassroots event — a learning journey for different religious groups to come together to learn about one another, and we celebrated iftar, breaking the fast together. [Applause] Today, we have the Jubilee Day of Prayer [Applause] And the National Stadium is as crowded as a football match! [Applause] Tomorrow, I shall be attending another iftar, this one at the newly renovated Al-Ansar Mosque in Bedok. [Applause] After that, I shall go to another celebration — this one jointly organised by the Taoist Federation and New Creation Church at the Star Theatre. [Applause] So later on, when we sing together, we will be singing the right song: “One People, One Nation, One Singapore”. [Applause] So for this 50th Jubilee year, let us pledge to make Singapore an enduring and endearing home for all, regardless of race, language or religion. [Applause] A home where we live together harmoniously and peacefully, as one united people – and look forward to a brighter future and another Jubilee together. Thank you very much!