Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Christian Retirement Villages

Now I have more than 3 weeks' experience of living in an HDB flat. I have all the time in the world. I can focus solely on God and had little human interaction. So I observed my surroundings and there are many seniors around me. I walked past many HDB apartments and I hear the TV on from early morning to late at night. I see older men (and lesser older women) wandering around aimless and listless. What a way to grow old - lonely and lonesome. I have an idea. Let's form a Christian Retirement Village Association. The goal is to build a Christian Retirement Village in Singapore. When I read early church history (esp. 3rd to 5th century), male bishops lived in communes with other men and sometimes with other women (separate quarters). There were no female priests let alone female bishops in the first 1,000 years of early church except if you take the sectarian Montanist movement (3rd century) which was ultimately rejected by the orthodox church. Augustine lived with his brother priests in his commune until the day of his death. Like Bishop of Ambrose before him, Augustine gave up everything, took a vow of celibacy (it was voluntary then and should be voluntary now) with his livelihood supported by the church. Ambrose in Milan and Augustine in Hippo would have managed millions of dollars (today's value) of church property and on occasions gold bars and precious stones. But they did not enrich themselves but distributed to the poor and gave alms to all and sundry. Unlike some of today's megachurch pastors who live in prime landed property that 97% of Singaporeans can ill afford. Back to the Christian retirement village concept.
How wonderful if Christian seniors to live together - how beautiful and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell in unity, it is like the precious oil on the head running down the beard of Aaron, running down the collar of his robes.. (Ps 133). It will be made up of 4 or 5 blocks of apartments (perhaps 3 stories high at most, the more abled bodies will live on the higher floors) with about 120 residents maximum (the upper room has 120 disciples praying and waiting for the pouring out of the Holy Spirit). The managers and wardens will be retired pastors (pastors never retire anyway - I will preach until my voice goes). There will be a Chapel in the middle, surrounded by the flats. Every day, morning, noon and evening there will be gatherings for devotions - evensong service (singing Psalms - I sang a few of my songs in my last church Camp). There will be private prayer rooms for private prayers and intercession. There will be seminar rooms for intense theological discussion - lifelong learning is one of my core convictions. There will be a big gathering for all residents on a Sunday evening, giving opportunity for those who are able to join Sunday morning services in their respective churches. Obviously there will be a wellness and clinic right at the heart of the Retirement Village. Those seriously ill will probably need to go to the nearby hospital (It's Medishield for life anyway - Viva Singapore!). And it is only open to those who are 60 years and above, so I have 10 years to see this into fruition because I plan to live in one myself.

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