The Dew of Hermon (adapted from The Mountain Dew of Hermon by Elder Lui Chiew Yee)
The history of Mount Hermon Bible-Presbyterian (BP) Church is one wrought with the challenge of finding a physical location to call home. Branching out from our founding sister church, Mount Carmel BP Church in 1975, the history of Mount Hermon began on the morning of October 6th, under the name of Telok Blangah Outreach. Then, Mount Carmel was located in Lengkok Bahru, where members of the Telok Blangah Outreach had previously been worshipping. The steady increase of worshippers from 1960 – with its first roots in Rumah Tinggi – to 1975 had resulted in a space constraint as the shophouse, where worship services were held, was no longer able to house its sizeable congregation. Hence, two offshoots from Mount Carmel at Lengkok Bahru took place: one, a Sunday School held at the home of Deacon Vincent Leong and his wife, which later evolved to become Hebron BP Church. The other, being our Telok Blangah Outreach. While it was indeed a way to solve this problem, it also provided an opportunity for the group to reach out and interact with those in the neighbouring estates.
1975-1977: Swee Pharmacy, Su Dental Surgery, Sharon Vale
That morning, the Telok Blangah Outreach, comprised of 14 adults and 3 children, gathered at the Swee Pharmacy – the workplace of Elder Tan Kim Pings wife, Chor Swee Sin; the shophouse was also their home – for their first worship session as a newfound group. Henceforth, evangelism work began, with tracting, as well as door-to-door evangelism. This was met with some success as there were indeed receptive households, whom the Outreach left with invitations for Sunday service at the Pharmacy. However, as the estate was, then, only newly completed and therefore not yet entirely populated and lived in, response to the Outreachs activities was limited. This resulted in the decision to move to the home of Richard and Cecilia Ang for a short while before Su Dental Surgery at Wishart Road, situated at the fringe of Telok Blangah Estate. The dental clinic belonged to Elder Ang Beng Chongs wife, Su Hong Hai, exhibiting again the complementary role the women of our church played in their provision of the physical space in which the leadership of their husbands was carried out. Regular worship services were thus held in its waiting room from May to December 1976. This time, the desire to move was motivated by the realisation of our need for more permanent worshipping grounds, which led to the rental of a prewar house, Number 3 Boon Leat Terrace in neighbouring Pasir Panjang.
Renamed Sharon Vale (having drawn inspiration from Isaiah 65:10 –Sharon will become a pasture for flocks, … for my people who seek me.), tuition classes for the children of the neighbourhood commenced. Simultaneously, evangelistic efforts led by Daniel and Joanna Rouillard took off, strengthening not just our friendships but also, our fellowship. But things soured briefly at this point: a letter was published in the papers, complaining about residential premises and the conversion of which for commercial and religious purposes. This was a sizeable blow to what seemed like initial success in the Pasir Panjang estate.
1977-1982: Telok Blangah Heights, Su Dental Surgery once more
In response to this and as an interim measure, the Outreach moved into the Telok Blangah Heights home of James and Susan Chua for worship sessions in December 1977, while maintaining tuition classes at Sharon Vale. Though membership continued to grow, the Outreach was also faced with discouragement that came in the form of government legislature discouraging the use of HDB apartments for public worship. This sparked off the decision to move once more; this time, back into Su Dental Surgery, where worship took place from June 1980 to April 1982.
1982: Back Home, Lengkok Bahru
At this point, seven years had lapsed since the Outreach first moved out of Lengkok Bahru to begin its ministry to the residents of Telok Blangah, during which the challenges of the circumstances of the day had caused them to move five times! In April 1982, in the face of potential termination of the tenancy of Su Dental, the group moved back home at Lengkok Bahru, where Mount Carmel had been worshipping the whole time. Confusing as this move may have seen, perhaps it was here that the sovereignty and omnipotent nature of our Lord is most clearly seen: Mount Carmel had won the bid for West Coast Road as their new and permanent worship site, Clementi Bible Centre at West Coast Road, leaving the grounds of Lengkok Bahru for the Outreach, where indeed, its activities were carried out after the move.
1983: The Dew of Hermon
There was, however, a small number of Carmelites who saw themselves as belonging to Lengkok Bahru and thus remained with the Telok Blangah Outreach who had recently returned. Elder Lui Chiew Yee was then appointed as the head of the task force to oversee the merger of these two groups that was to be cemented with a new identity and name. Hence, in August 1983, Mount Hermon Bible-Presbyterian Church was born. The origins of our name can be traced to Psalm 133:
How good and pleasant it is when brothers live in unity!
It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.
Psalm 133:1-3 is especially apt with the context of the impending physical separation of the three bodies Mount Carmel, Hebron and Telok Blangah Outreach. The lattermost group took the name Hermon as it biblically represented the brethren who remained in Jerusalem. Likening this brethren to themselves, who stayed behind in Lengkok Bahru to continue and maintain the ministries that had been started there – namely, tuition and the old folks ministry. It was thus a symbolic new name for the new phase of church development that had began then.
By 1985, Mount Hermon had a 120-strong congregation, who having established and cemented in the Lord their new identity, worshipped on Sunday mornings in warm and joyful fellowship at their Lengkok Bahru premises. Over the year, further developments arose and in September 1985, Mount Gerizim, a Chinese congregation offshoot of Mount Hermon came into being; carrying out afternoon worship services likewise at Lengkok Bahru.
1987: Boys Brigade Headquarters (BBHQ)
Unsurprisingly, the space constraint – that had at the start sparked off the formation of the Telok Blangah Outreach – came into question again, but in the Lords provision, an opportunity arose for the rental of a hall in the Boys Brigade Headquarters (BBHQ). Its location was an additional plus being situated nearby at Ganges Avenue, where the Hermon congregation moved in 1987. A former school compound, it served the congregation well its classrooms and spacious hall for their Sunday activities. Those who made up this congregation are Hermons 1st generation members who, in spite of the aforementioned teething pains, persisted in the Lord and His work.
1996-present: Choa Chu Kang Bible Centre (CCKBC)
In 1996, a new chapter began for Mount Hermon and Hebron as the latter successfully won the tender for our present site, Choa Chu Kang Bible Centre (CCKBC), which today houses Mount Hermon, Hebron, Mt Horeb and Mount Gerizim. Not only is it able to accommodate the gradual growth of our congregation, it is also a place we call home; that belongs to us as much as it does with the other three churches we share with.
Within Hermon herself, however, we are today comprised of a three-generation church family: the aforementioned 1st generation, the 2nd generation; those who joined Mount Hermon during her BBHQ days and the children of these members, and the 3rd generation; those who have joined us today at CCKBC (Choa Chu Kang Bible Centre).
The history of Mount Hermon BP Church surely does not end here as we work at continually accommodating our current members and those who look to join us. Furthermore, Gods grace has been shown us through the years, right from our humble beginnings in Lengkok Bahru. It is our hope that we may act as His vessel to bless you in the same way too!