Bishop-Designate Rennis Ponniah to be installed on 20th October 2012, Bishop John Chew to retire on 4th October 2012
On Saturday 12th May 2012, at the 22nd Session of Synod, The Most Revd Bolly Lapok, the Archbishop of the Province of South East Asia announced that The Right Revd Rennis Ponniah has been appointed the Ninth Bishop of the Diocese of Singapore.
Bishop Rennis Ponniah, 56, has been the Vicar of one of the largest Anglican parishes, St John’s-St Margaret’s Church, since July 1993. He was a Senior Research Officer with the Housing Development Board before being ordained as deacon in 1990. The following year he was ordained as priest and he was consecrated as Assistant Bishop in 2005. He holds a B. Soc. Sc (Hons) from the University of Singapore and a Masters in Divinity from Trinity Theological College. Married to Amir for 30 years, they have four children.
On his election, the Bishop-designate, The Right Revd Rennis Ponniah had this to say,
With faith in God, I receive this immense responsibility. I am humbled by the trust invested in me by the clergy, the laity and the provincial bishops. I intend to build on the good work of Bishop John Chew and his predecessors, while seeking fresh ways to bring the love and hope of the “good news” of our faith to a multi-religious and constantly-changing society in a responsible and winsome way.
After the announcement, the Bishop-designate led clergy and lay leaders to pay their personal tributes to Bishop John Chew for his sterling leadership for the last 12 years. Under Bishop Chew’s leadership, the Diocese and the Province had grown holistically and in so many ways: seeking the welfare of the city through community services, overseas outreach as well as the strengthening of our schools and local churches. Bishop Chew had also played a major role internationally, especially in standing for orthodoxy in faith and practice through the Global South grouping of Anglican Provinces, and in building a strong link between the Anglican Church in African states and the Christian Church in China. These are some of the areas that Bishop-designate Ponniah intends to build on.
The Bishop-designate Rennis Ponniah reflected on his ministry thus far,
As the Vicar of St John’s-St Margaret’s Church as well as the Asst. Bishop of the Diocese of Singapore, I praise God for the privilege of being part of both parish and diocesan growth over the years. For the Diocese, we have worked hard to establish the essential shape of congregational life in our Parish Life Review and we have made consistent effort to strengthen the nexus between Diocese and the parishes. It has been a joy to witness the growing role of our Diocese in the public square, particularly in our contribution to the social capital of the nation through well–synergised community services and well-run, value-based educational institutions.
In terms of the parish I currently am entrusted with, we have in God’s grace grown in worship and prayer, discipleship and evangelism, and also in world missions and community services. My great joy is in building communities of disciples – to see congregations rise up in the Spirit’s power to be the people of God touching the society around them, stirring others to know God, leading people to receive Jesus as Saviour & Lord, and reaching the nations for Christ. One of my great thrills is being on the mission field to encourage our cross-cultural workers and assist them in their outreach work.
As an Asst. Bishop, I thank God for the opportunity to work alongside Bishop Chew in pastorally caring for the clergy and their parishes, as well as helping to oversee the training and formation of ordinands and priests. The health and strength of the Diocese, while requiring critical input by the Diocesan Bishop and his senior clergy team, is also inextricably tied to the health and strength of its parishes. I am committed, with God’s help, to grow personally and to help other priests grow as pastoral leaders.
The process of selecting a new Bishop involved several steps. A Special Synod in March met for the House of Laity and the House of Clergy to nominate candidates. The final selection was made by the House of Bishops at the Provincial level. The Installation Service will take place sometime on the 20th of October this year. The incumbent, The Right Revd Dr John Chew, will remain in office till 4th October 2012.