51,000 Christians gather at Sports Hub to mark SG50; PM Lee thanks community for helping build S'pore

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reciting the national pledge with the 51,000-strong crowd at the National Stadium at the Jubilee Day of Prayer on July 5, 2015.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reciting the national pledge with the 51,000-strong crowd at the National Stadium at the Jubilee Day of Prayer on July 5, 2015. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - A record 51,000 Christians from churches across Singapore gathered to mark SG50 and pray for the country at the Singapore Sports Hub on Sunday.

The Jubilee Day of Prayer event is the largest multi-denominational Christian event in Singapore's history, and is part of a series of events to mark its 50th year of independence.

Joining them as guest-of-honour was Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who got a warm welcome from those present as they waved national flags and cheered his arrival.

In a short speech, Mr Lee acknowledged that a jubilee year is a significant one of great celebration for Christians.

He added that in the Old Testament in the Bible, a jubilee year is the 50th year at the end of seven sabbatical cycles.

"This is the spirit of the jubilee: togetherness, thankfulness and generosity that we must nurture and that will see us into the future. A future in which all our communities, including our Protestant community, will have full roles to play," said PM Lee.

He paid tribute to the Protestant community's contributions to nation building, particularly in education, where schools started by missionaries moulded young men and women of character, and in the social services, where the less privileged are served.

PM Lee also thanked the community for understanding Singapore's multi-racial and multi-religious context.

"I thank you for building trust and mutual confidence with other religious groups, between the groups as well as between the leaders, so that we can live harmoniously together and solve problems amicably and cooperatively together," he said.

"For this 50th jubilee year, let us make Singapore an enduring home, an endearing home, a home for all regardless of race, of language, of religion," he added.

The event was co-organised by the National Council of Churches in Singapore and the Evangelical Fellowship of Singapore. It was supported by the Singapore Baptist Convention, the Indian Christian Network, the Festival of Praise Fellowship, the LoveSingapore church network and the National Prayer Alliance.