City Harvest's expansion plan: a misplaced goal? A greater glory for God in, what, a marketplace?!

When I read how City Harvest founder Dr Kong Hee proudly said: "Finally, we will have a church in the marketplace, for the marketplace, to penetrate the marketplace", I just can't resist to recall the following story in mind & sigh. It's about how Jesus chased away merchants from the temple.

From John 2:13-16, "The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, "Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father's house a marketplace!"

I'm so glad I'm not (and never) part of this commercialized religious organization.

"The nature is my church. The greatness of the God can't be contained in a man-made structure. The sincere act of kindness to my fellow human being is my prayer." One wise person was once advising me that. I concur.

CITY Harvest Church has announced a $310 million expansion plan to buy land, and to erect a building that will house shops, restaurants and a 12,000-seat auditorium.

Founder Kong Hee, 45, said during church services yesterday and last Saturday that the land sale would be completed later this month. He did not specify the location, but said the site would be in the 'central south' district.

He described the site as 'super large'. It is believed the site covers an area as large as three football fields - six times the size of the Protestant church's current home in Jurong West Street 91, which it owns.

'This is truly amazing,' Dr Kong said yesterday at the Singapore Expo, where it has been renting a hall for services. 'Finally, we will have a church in the marketplace, for the marketplace, to penetrate the marketplace.'

The church's plans to incorporate retail elements into its building project follow similar plans announced in 2007 by New Creation Church, another large Christian group in Singapore.

New Creation has teamed up with mall developer CapitaLand Retail to build an 'integrated hub' at Buona Vista. The $1 billion project, when ready in 2012, will house shops, a concert hall and a theatre.

From Straits Times, "City Harvest's expansion plan".



Update on 20/03: The Commissioner of Charities has come to picture & questioned City Harvest Church about its $310 million stake in Suntec Singapore. A commercialized church...please count me out of it!

THE Commissioner of Charities has questioned City Harvest Church (CHC) about its $310 million stake in Suntec Singapore.

The 33,000-strong megachurch announced two weeks ago that it had become a co-owner of the downtown commercial property, which houses a convention and exhibition centre.

The complex's full name is Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

From Straits Times, "City Harvest questioned".

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