Church tightens procedures for inviting speakers

From left: Mr Hawazi Daipi, Imam Habib Hassan Al-Attas, Ms Katharyn Peh and Pastor Yang Yuck Yoong looking at a model of the Bible College of Wales during the Ba'alwie Mosque delegation's visit to Cornerstone Community Church yesterday.
From left: Mr Hawazi Daipi, Imam Habib Hassan Al-Attas, Ms Katharyn Peh and Pastor Yang Tuck Yoong looking at a model of the Bible College of Wales during the Ba'alwie Mosque delegation's visit to Cornerstone Community Church yesterday.PHOTO: ALICIA CHAN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Cornerstone Community Church has tightened its protocols and procedures, following alleged anti-Islamic remarks made by an American Christian preacher the church invited to speak earlier this year.

Pastor Yang Tuck Yoong said that it was important to make sure "something like this never happens again".

The senior pastor was speaking to The Straits Times after a guest visit by members of Ba'alwie Mosque to the church premises in Odeon Katong yesterday.

During the visit, Imam Habib Hassan Al-Attas and a small delegation from the mosque were introduced to a 850-strong audience at the church before they took a tour of the premises.

"We believe in proactively building a bridge of trust and understanding between leaders of communities by meeting one another regularly," said Pastor Yang. "I believe this can resolve potential misunderstandings."

Earlier in March, the church had invited American Christian personality Lou Engle to speak at a Singapore conference. During Mr Engle's sermon, he seemed to suggest that Islam was a threat to Christianity, an online publication reported.

The incident prompted the Ministry of Home Affairs to investigate and Pastor Yang, who is the founder of the church, to apologise.

"Rigid due diligence is now in place to vet every speaker we invite," said Pastor Yang.

"The wonderful takeaway from this episode is that we have found ourselves new friends from the Muslim community."

In April, Imam Habib Hassan invited the pastor and some church members over for lunch. Yesterday's event was a reciprocation of their warm hospitality, said Pastor Yang.

During yesterday's visit, Imam Habib Hassan also emphasised the good in all religions, noting that the basic teachings of various religions focus on creating good people.


Correction note:  In an earlier version of the story, we misspelt Pastor Yang Tuck Yoong's name. This has been corrected. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 09, 2018, with the headline 'Church tightens procedures for inviting speakers'. Print Edition | Subscribe