TOC Breaking: City Harvest responds to allegations (Thu 28 June 2012)

The following is a press release from City Harvest Church released to TOC and the media.

Mr Aries Zulkarnain, the Executive Pastor and a Founding Member of City Harvest Church (CHC) since its start 23 years ago says that the church stands with the members involved.

“The people currently in the news are pastors, trusted staff and leaders who have always put God and CHC first. As a church, we stand with them and I believe fully in their integrity. Pastor Kong is still our Senior Pastor.”

Mr Zulkarnain says that the Commissioner of Charities (CoC) has confirmed that Mr Kong Hee, the Senior Pastor, and Mr Tan Ye Peng, the Deputy Senior Pastor will continue to preach at the church.

He emphasises that church activities are not affected by the case. “CHC will continue to do its work. Our services and cell group meetings will carry on as usual. As a church we will continue to take care of our members and our community. We will not stop doing God’s work.”

With regard to the allegations, Mr Zulkarnain says, “It has been suggested that the church has been cheated of $50 million. This is not accurate. The $24 million, which went to investment bonds, was returned to the church in full, with interest. We didn’t lose $24 million, nor did we lose ‘another $26 million’ as alleged. The church did not lose any funds in the relevant transactions, and no personal profit was gained by the individuals concerned.”

Speaking on behalf of the Board, Bobby Chaw, the pastor in charge of missions at CHC, says that actions had been taken over the past two years in accordance with the MCYS’s code of governance.

“We replaced 50% of our Board with new members. We engaged RSM Chio Lim to do a full internal audit and we have been putting their recommendations into action, and will continue to do so,” says Mr Chaw. “We appreciate the need to maintain good corporate governance, and we are continuously working with MCYS to do so.”

However, Mr Chaw expressed his disappointment with some of the media’s coverage so far, particularly in relation to the CoC enquiry.

“In some instances, they seem to have pre-judged us. We will be dealing with this in due course,” he says.

He adds that the church was also surprised that CoC chose to implement the suspensions of the members involved without prior notice. “We have been co-operating with CoC for two years since the start of the case, so these sudden suspensions came as a surprise to us.”

CHC’s Advisory Pastor, Rev Dr Phil Pringle is in Singapore to stand by CHC. He is the Senior Pastor of C3 Church, Sydney, and the C3 Global Network of Churches. Dr Pringle expresses his support for the leadership.

“I have known CHC, Kong, Sun and Ye Peng for a long time. CHC is not just a local church in Singapore. It has 49 affiliated churches and 6 Bible Schools all across Asia. It has impact on international ground, and it has proven through many years that it serves the global community, both spiritually and practically through humanitarian works.”

Dr Pringle says he, along with CHC’s Advisory Chairman Dr A R Bernard, who is the Senior Pastor of Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, New York, fully believes in and endorses CHC’s Crossover Project as a mission to reach the world.

CHC states that the Crossover Project is not about one person’s singing career; it is a mission that is fundamental to the congregation of CHC. The Crossover Project is an outreach that uses Sun Ho’s singing and music to engage people and places that would never otherwise hear the Gospel. As a result of the Crossover Project, many churches have grown worldwide and the faith of many have been strengthened. Impact has been made on the needy in Haiti, disaster victims in China, the depressed and suicidal in Taiwan, and the sick children in Honduras, among others.

Dr Pringle says, “The Gospel is the Good News and Christians are meant to share it. CHC has done this through the Crossover Project, which lies at the very heart of our religious beliefs.”