Monday, 22 July 2013

Worship at St Peter's Ipoh

St Peter's is unmistakably charismatic evangelical in it's worship, and provides quite a contrast from the more traditional Anglican worship that I experienced at St Barnabas in Klang.  

There are four different congregations that meet at St Peter's, based around various languages, English, Cantonese, Mandarin (which meet on Saturday) and Malay. Altogether the combined attendance at these four services averages around 400 plus, with the English and Malay services attracting the largest congregations - closely followed by the Cantonese service.  The worship is very modern, and very contemporary.  The English service begins at 9am, and starts with between 30 to 40 minutes of band led worship.  One of the worship leaders is an extremely talented 19 year old called Joshua Loo, whose passion and zeal for God is amazing to behold.

After a time of worship, they move into a time of intercession. This however is not the the quiet style of prayer that you'd find in most Anglican churches, but very passionate, praise and worship, usually leading into a time of praying in the spirit (in tongues), and with everyone praying allowed together.  More worship often follows, before the congregation say together the collect and then a simple declaration of faith before the Bible readings are read.  This is then followed by the sermon which generally lasts around 45 minutes, and often is followed by a time for more ministry.

If it is a communion service, communion is celebrated before the talk.

In addition to the congregations that worship at St Peter's, St Peter's has planted various churches around Ipoh and beyond.  These include Shalom Church (in Gopeng), Shekinah Church, Agape Church, Hallelujah Church and Charis Church. Attendance at these churches along with St Peter's is between 550 to 670 people per week.  

What is most striking about the churches I've visited in Malaysia, is how many of them have planted new churches.  Whereas church planting amongst the Anglican Churches in the UK, seems to be still fairly rare, and only undertaken by the very large Anglican churches, in Malaysia church planting seems a very natural thing to do.  In addition the church plants soon seem to be planting churches of their own.  For example originally St Peter's was a church plant of St John's Ipoh, but has now planted many churches of its own (and in size has outgrown its mother church).