Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Straits Times report on NCC's Miracle Seed Sunday (2009)

STRAITS TIMES - 11 March 2009
By Theresa Tan & Melissa Sim

MEMBERS of the New Creation Church and their friends donated an average of $864 each one Sunday last month, netting the church a whopping $19 million for its upcoming multimillion-dollar lifestyle hub in Buona Vista.

The sum is believed to be the largest ever collected in Singapore in one single day and comes at a time when charities say donations are dipping, as the recession worsens and people are keeping their hands firmly in their pockets.

This, however, is not the first time the New Creation Church, an independent church led by Senior Pastor Joseph Prince, has collected such a staggering sum in one day. One Sunday in April last year, the church collected about $18 million during its first 'Miracle Seed Sunday'.

The church declined to be interviewed, saying its affairs were 'a personal expression of worship'.

But The Straits Times understands that 'Miracle Seed Sunday' is a day when the church's members 'sow a seed, expecting miracles'.

Mr Prince declared during his sermons early last month that Feb 15 would be a 'Miracle Seed Sunday'.

A record 22,000 people, including members and their friends, showed up on Feb15 for the church services and pledged $19 million. The proceeds are to go to the church's new cultural and entertainment complex being developed by its business arm, Rock Productions.

Last September, Rock Productions told The Straits Times it had raised about a third of the $500 million it needed to build the complex. It is partnering property giant CapitaLand to build the close to $1 billion project, envisioned as a 'futuristic complex with restaurants, shops and a 5,000-seat theatre'.

CapitaLand will own and manage the complex's retail and entertainment zone. Rock Productions will own and manage the civic and cultural zone, which will house the 5,000-seat theatre to be used for the New Creation Church's Sunday services.

Church members interviewed said they were happy to donate to the new complex. Bank executive Marcus Wong, 28, said: 'It's not compulsory. Whoever has the heart and wants to give can come forward to give. The building is for God, so we see it as an offering.'

When asked whether she thought the money should go to helping the poor instead of constructing a building, another church member, a businesswoman who declined to be named, replied: 'I believe with the new building, we are giving to the kingdom of God, and God will be able to bless more people.'

The New Creation Church is one of the fastest- growing churches in Singapore. It was founded here in 1984 by a group of young Christians and has grown from 25 believers to more than 18,000 members today. It had an income of $55.4 million during its last financial year.

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