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City Harvest paying $310m to become Suntec co-owner


City Harvest paying $310m to become Suntec co-owner

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  1. chinesepaul
    March 19, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Reproduced below is a reply by the executive pastor of the City Harvest Church in response to the queries raised by church members.

    source: http://www.konghee.com/www/2010/03/chc-new-home-suntec-convention-centre/

    Derek on March 11th, 2010 10:16 pm

    Dear John,

    I am Rev Derek Dunn, the Executive Pastor of CHC. Thank you for your post and your vigilance on behalf of all of us. There are however a number of flawed conclusions in your post.

    There is nothing inherently inconsistent between Suntec’s announcement and Pastor Kong’s. Suntec’s statement is a formal legal announcement in compliance with the SGX-ST listing manual and thus uses bare legal terms.
    Pastor Kong pastors our Church and thus announced this development in terms of how the Church sees this investment.

    You buy your shares in Singtel for investment, the Church invested in the holding company of Suntec because it aspires to co-own the premises it uses within the confines of the law and existing legal arrangements relating to Suntec Convention Centre. There is also a great deal of difference between a stake that may be several decimal points away from 1% and one that is just one share short of 50%, yet both are minority shareholders in the eyes of the law.

    Without breaching our confidentiality obligations, neither the shareholders nor ourselves can say more. We are a Church and not a court of law. Pastor Kong spoke from his heart. After years of exploring many different sites and their pros and cons, and after much heartache and difficulty which it is not possible to share here, Pastor Kong wanted to share the enthusiasm of everyone involved that we finally have a place of worship in a central
    location.

    What we can say however is that we are not an investor in a fund. We are not passive with respect to our investment into the convention centre leaving the fund manager to manage our money and our investment.

    While we are tenants of Halls 601 to 603, this is not necessarily an arrangement that we would have made but for our investment into the holding company, without being at liberty to say more.

    From my personal in depth contact with Pastor Kong and serving together with him for more than 15 years, I can say that he would never intentionally bring insult to any person, much less an entire Church. We are all Christians and any inadvertent slight is regretted. Please accept his apologies in peace for any offense taken.

    The present arrangements are the first step of many that the Church will need to take to secure centrally located premises for its congregations. Whether these steps revolve solely around Suntec Convention Centre or any other space it is not appropriate to disclose at this point. The Church is constantly reviewing and evaluating its options and guards carefully the funds entrusted to it by its members.

    We call our project “Arise & Build” because we will not be daunted by the difficulties we have faced or continue to face in securing a permanent place of worship for our congregations in a central location. The building isn’t just of brick and mortar but of spiritual determination. However humble you consider our results, this has been the result of years of determination and
    hard work and personal testimonies on this will, God willing, be
    shared with the whole Church one day.

    As a Church, it is not appropriate for us to conduct our commercial activities directly. In the UK, we understand that the Commissioner in fact requires Churches to form subsidiaries to conduct their commercial activities, and we are advised by our lawyers that our Commissioner in Singapore has similar views.

    Apart from the older Churches who have land in central locations
    historically, there are no religious sites in the city centre. There is no choice for the newer churches such as ourselves but to co-own commercial centers, but always within the confines of the law. We do not run Suntec Convention Centre nor do we intend to do so. That is a commercial activity reserved to commercial people.

    Ironically, it is belief in the courage of the leadership to do what is right even if it attracts calumny that binds the majority of our members rather than blind faith.

    There are easier ways to have avoided the present debate, but there is no intention to hide or plug yours or any other member’s right to comment on the proceedings. We ask only that you consider our response in the spirit in which it is made – a humble, quiet confidence that we have done the right thing for our Church members.

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