Christianity in Singapore

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Christians in Singapore constitute approximately 18% of the country's population.[1] In 2010, about 38.5% of the country's Christians identified as Catholic and 61.5% as 'Other Christians' (chiefly Protestants).[2]

Christianity was introduced to Singapore by Anglican British colonists. The percentage of Christians in Singapore increased from 12.7% in 1990 to 14.6% in 2000.[3] Whilst the 2015 census showed the Christian population increased again, to 18.8%. [4]

The majority of Christian churches are under the umbrella of the National Council of Churches of Singapore.[5] Most belong to Protestant traditions which consist of an array of denominations.

Protestantism[edit]

Broadly speaking, the local Protestant denominations are: Anglican, Methodist, Pentecostal, Baptist, Adventist, Presbyterian, Evangelical Reformed, Mar Thoma Syrian Church, Lutheran and Evangelical Free Church. In addition to these, there are also nondenominational churches from the Churches of Christ, Plymouth Brethren and Charismatic Christian traditions.

Anglicanism is represented in Singapore by the Church of the Province of South East Asia, of which the Diocese of Singapore is responsible for 26 parishes within Singapore as well as six deaneries in other Southeast Asian countries.

The Methodist Church in Singapore is the Church that Methodists in Singapore belong to. It consists of 46 local congregations, and manages 16 schools. It is the largest denomination of Christianity in Singapore.

Although the churches seem divided along denomination lines, many Christian ministries and congregations often organise events for the Christian community in general[citation needed].

Pentecostalism became a larger influence through the Charismatic Movement of the 1970s, but North American and Ceylon Pentecostal Mission missionaries (Pentecostal Church of Singapore) had been active from 1935.

Other than churches, there are several other Christian organisations in Singapore. These organisations include, Fei Yue Family Centres, Teen Challenge various community hospitals, and Beulah.[6]

There is a growing number Independent Churches, ranging from small independent churches such as Independent Presbyterian Churches as well as Baptist ones, while being self-governing, independent Church bodies, associate with their respective denominations, as well as larger megachurches such as City Harvest Church, New Creation Church, Faith Community Baptist Church which draw thousands to their services.

Roman Catholicism[edit]

The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd is the oldest Roman Catholic church in Singapore.

The Roman Catholic population in Singapore generally consists of Chinese (including Peranakans), Filipinos, and Indians, along with a few smaller minority groups such as Eurasians (including Kristang) and white Europeans. The Chinese, the majority ethnicity in Singapore, also account for the majority of Catholics. There are 32 Roman Catholic parishes in Singapore, each administering to a particular district in Singapore.[7]

Singapore has a Roman Catholic Archdiocese headed by Archbishop William Goh who presides at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. The Holy Mass in Singapore is celebrated in numerous vernacular tongues, including English, Mandarin, Hokkien, Teochew, Tamil, Malayalam, Tagalog and Korean (at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd). Malay is seldom used, since Malays are almost entirely Muslim.

Peranakan Roman Catholics are generally concentrated in the Church of the Holy Family in Katong; whilst St. Joseph's Church along Victoria street is a cultural base for Portuguese Eurasians. Roman Catholic parishes in the 18th to early 19th centuries were initially set up along racial and cultural lines by various Roman Catholic missionary groups from Europe.

Various Roman Catholic parishes in Singapore are actively involved in social services such as welfare homes, the opening of soup kitchens as well as missionary trips to places like Indonesia and the Philippines. There is also the Catholic Medical Guild, and other Roman Catholic lobby groups that are based in the Church of St Peter & Paul parish grounds. They are also currently supporting the creation of Neighbourhood Christian Communities (NCC) in order to organise and gather the Roman Catholic communities within their neighbourhoods.[8]

A fledgling Greek-Catholic community, dependent on the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic bishop of Melbourne, is also present.

Oriental Orthodoxy[edit]

The Armenian Church is the oldest Christian church in Singapore.

Oriental Orthodox churches in Singapore include the old Armenian Church which has a church building and new appointed resident clergy. By the Pontifical Order of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, Very Rev. Fr. Zaven Yazichyan, a member of the Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin; has been appointed to serve as the spiritual pastor of Singapore, the Coptic Orthodox Church which meets in the Armenian Church, and the Syriac Orthodox Church; the latter two churches generally minister to the Coptic and Indian communities respectively.

Eastern Orthodoxy[edit]

In Singapore there is also a small but growing Eastern Orthodox congregation made up of ethnic Greeks, Russians, Ukrainians and Indians, constituting a small minority in the local Christian population. In 2008, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople decided to create Eastern Orthodox Metropolitanate of Singapore and South Asia, with jurisdiction over Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Timor, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and Afghanistan.[9] First Diocesan Bishop was appointed in 2011, when Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate elected Archimendrire Konstantinos (Tsilis) as the first Metropolitan of Singapore and South Asia. He was ordained by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople and resides in Singapore.[10] The central parish in Singapore is served by Archimandrite Daniel Toyne.

On 28 December 2018, in response to the Ecumenical Patriarchate's actions in Ukraine,[11] the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church decided to create "a Patriarchal Exarchate in Western Europe with the center in Paris", as well as "a Patriarchal Exarchate in South-East Asia [PESEA] with the center in Singapore." The "sphere of pastoral responsibility" of the PESEA is Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, North Korea, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, the Myanmar, the Philippines, and Thailand.[12][13][14][15]

Nontrinitarianism[edit]

There are also various Nontrinitarian congregations in Singapore, such as the Mormon Church and the True Jesus Church, some of which have been subject to varying degrees of restriction, most notably Jehovah's Witnesses and the Unification Church.

Education and schools[edit]

A Pew Center study about religion and education around the world in 2016, found that between the various Christian communities, Singapore outranks other nations in terms of Christians who obtain a university degree in institutions of higher education (67%).[16]

Anglican schools[edit]

Methodist schools[edit]

Presbyterian schools[edit]

Roman Catholic schools[edit]

Inter-faith[edit]

Singapore is a society of diverse religious traditions. The Declaration of Religious Harmony, which was published in 2003, is a seminal document, which the National Council of Churches of Singapore supported and helped create. On 3 September 2008, the sociologist and Pentecostal pastor, Mathew Mathews, who was named a visiting fellow of the Sociology department at the National University of Singapore, interviewed 183 Singaporean clergy. From these interviews he formed the opinion that the Christian clergy in many parts of Singapore were wary of inter-faith dialogue. He claimed that nearly 50% of clergy believe that inter-faith dialogue compromises their own religious convictions. He presented his paper to the Institute of Public Studies (Singapore) in a forum they organised on 2 September 2008.[17].

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Census of Population 2014 Statistical Release 1 – Demographic Characteristics, Education, Language and Religion" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
  2. ^ Singapore Census of Population 2015: Statistical Release 1: Demographic Characteristics, Education, Language and Religion. Singapore: Department of Statistics, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore. January 2011. Table 59 ("Resident Population Aged 15 Years and Over by Religion, Ethnic Group and Sex"). ISBN 978-981-08-7808-5.
  3. ^ Sng, Bobby E.K. (2003). In His Good Time: The Story of the Church in Singapore 1819–2002 (3rd ed.). Singapore: Bible Society of Singapore. p. 337. ISBN 981-220-286-2.
  4. ^ "Better-educated S'pore residents look to religion". 13 January 2011. Archived from the original on 16 January 2011. Retrieved 26 February 2011.
  5. ^ "National Council of Churches Singapore Website". National Council of Churches Singapore Website. Archived from the original on 25 April 2011.
  6. ^ "Breaking News – Singapore". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 20 February 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  7. ^ "Archdiocese of Singapore: Catholic Churches". Catholic.org.sg. Archived from the original on 16 October 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  8. ^ "Neighbourhood Christian Communities (NCCs)". The Catholic News. Archived from the original on 12 May 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2011.
  9. ^ "Announcement from the Top Secretariat of the Holy and Sacred Synod – EP". orthodox.cn. Archived from the original on 10 April 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  10. ^ "Metropolitan : Orthodox Metropolitanate of Singapore and South Asia". omsgsa.org. Archived from the original on 10 April 2017. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  11. ^ "Russian Orthodox Church Synod forms patriarch's exarchates in Europe, Asia in response to Constantinople's actions". www.interfax-religion.com. 29 December 2018. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  12. ^ "The Russian Orthodox Church establishes a new Exarchate of Singapore and Southeast Asia". Philippine Mission. 28 December 2018. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  13. ^ "Patriarchal Exarchates established in Western Europe and South-East Asia | The Russian Orthodox Church". mospat.ru. 28 December 2018. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  14. ^ "ЖУРНАЛЫ заседания Священного Синода от 28 декабря 2018 года (публикация обновляется) / Официальные документы / Патриархия.ru". Патриархия.ru (in Russian). 28 December 2018. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  15. ^ "Russian Orthodox Synod decides to set up exarchates in Western Europe and Southeast Asia". TASS. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  16. ^ "Religion and Education Around the World" (PDF). Pew Research Center. 19 December 2011. Archived (PDF) from the original on 22 December 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  17. ^ Li, Xueying (3 September 2008). "Clergy 'Wary of Inter-Faith Talks'". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2 October 2018.

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