At the Singapore Stake Conference on Sunday, 17 September 2017, Stake President Jean-Luc Butel announced the re-organization of the ten wards in the Stake: two wards were dissolved, and two new wards were created. He also announced changes to the boundaries for three wards and the addition of members in those three wards.
Bishops called in the two new wards
The two expatriate wards (First and Fourth) were dissolved, and their respective bishops, Greg Petersen and Cade Napierski, released. Two new wards, Bukit Timah and Yishun, were created. Jerome Ledesma, formerly from the Clementi Ward is the bishop of the new Bukit Timah Ward; and Ng Yong Meow is the bishop of the new Yishun Ward.
The boundaries for Clementi, Toa Payoh and Woodlands Wards were changed. Patrick Tan is the new bishop of Clementi Ward while Cade Napierski is the new bishop of the Woodlands ward. Low Eng Hwee remains the bishop in Toa Payoh Ward.
Now is the turning point… to make a difference
President Butel said, 'We had a wonderful stake conference. Many outstanding brothers and sisters were released with much gratitude in our heart. And of course, many others have been called. We are at a turning point for our stake, united in faith and spirit and with wards having a different membership. This new spirit of unity will be key in the months and years to come making our stake a light for many new people who want to seek for truth and peace. We have an opportunity to make a difference, bring joy and happiness in the hearts of many through the message of the restored Gospel. It is a wonderful opportunity to be involved in. I pray that we will have the vision, wisdom, and courage to go after it!'
President Butel said, .... This new spirit of unity will be key in the months and years to come making our stake a light for many new people who want to seek for truth and peace....
The reorganization is to strengthen and build up Zion, to make it beautiful, a place of refuge from the world
Bro. John Allen who was released as Stake High Counselor and sustained as a counselor in the Clementi Ward Bishopric said, 'In the weeks preceding conference, the conversation seemed to focus on doing away with the expat wards as the main reason for reorganizing the stake. However, this was not the case, as declared by President Butel, who stated unequivocally that the reorganization had nothing to do with integrating the expat wards per se, but that the purpose of the reorganization was to 'come to a unity of the faith' as declared by Paul to the Ephesians, to come together as members to strengthen and build up Zion in Singapore, to make it beautiful, a place of refuge from the world, a place of joy.'
The boundary is just an imaginary line – does not matter where we meet
Patrick Tan, the new bishop of the Clementi Ward said, 'Many years ago when the Stake was first reorganized with the formation of the First Ward and having the locals and expatriates meet in different wards, I sustained it. Similarly, on Sunday 17 September, when President Butel proposed the dissolution of the First and Fourth Ward, allowing local members and expatriates to meet together, I once again raised my hand to the square and sustained it. I know this is the will of the Lord for this time and season, and the Spirit confirms it to me. The boundary is just an imaginary line. It does not matter where we meet. We are all united as one in our faith and testimony of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.'
Change is never easy; we will adapt and move on
Sister Dora Ellis who will move into the Clementi Ward from the dissolved First Ward said, 'Change is never easy for most people. I saw some sad faces at the Stake Conference on Sunday when two wards were dissolved and two new wards created. But we will get used to the changes very quickly. That is what is so remarkable about the human spirit– we will adapt and move on.'
New arrangement will promote the appreciation of diversity and cultures
Bro. Dave Lai was overseas when he heard about the re-organization of the Singapore Stake. He sent this message, 'We know that Pres. Butel was inspired to change the ward boundaries to bring it in line with the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. This new arrangement will promote and cultivate integration and appreciation of diversity and cultures in His Church. In short, it will unify and strengthen members across the stake.'
All things are meant for our good
Sister Lee Choi Chan, a long-time member who had gone through many changes in the Church, said, 'Change can create in us feelings of apprehension. However, when directed by the spirit of the Lord, we can embrace this new direction with the hope that all things are meant for our good: for the individuals as well as the Church. It is inevitable that there will be adjustments to be made with regards to unfamiliar surroundings, new leadership and even relationships. We can look ahead with fortitude and patience. There are new bonding, new callings, and new achievements to look forward to. Blessings await us to be claimed as we strive to enlarge our stakes by following the counsel of our spiritual leaders. The Lord will move his Church forward and out of obscurity so the Light of Christ may shine brightly that all may come under the influence of His spirit.'