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Conference – Singapore seminar on suicide

September 2018

On 9 August, 71 participants from 26 churches and different backgrounds gathered for the Sovereign Hope Bible Presbyterian Ministry’s (SHBPM’s) seminar on depression and suicide.

The seminar provided an edifying time of meditating on the medical and biblical perspective of suicide and depression.  This subject has been a matter of grave concern both locally and globally as we witnessed the deaths of some famous names, such as Matthew Warren, Kate Spade and Robin Williams, as well as local people who took their lives due to depression.

The suicide rates among the elderly have also increased in Singapore in 2017 and we need to address it from a medical and Christian perspective. Chaired by Bro Albert, Dr Patrick Foo, a Christian family physician who has experience in the unique ministry gave an enlightening talk on the medical options and treatment for those who are depressed with some personal anecdotes of his medical practices.

After the tea break and book table by Fide Vitae Resources (FV), pastor Jack Sin spoke on the second part on the theological aspects of depression and suicide and gave biblical insights from the Word of God (especially the Psalms) and its relevant counsel and admonitions. He addressed the different occasions of people in the Bible who were depressed or suicidal and how they coped with it, sharing some practical strategies and counselling tips in comfort and hope.

The participants came from different backgrounds and churches. During the Q and A, one participant expressed his appreciation to God and the church for organising the seminar.  He felt the need to be reaching out to those who are depressed and suicidal and asked if there can be counselling courses conducted to equip care givers and counsellors.

An elder of a BPC asked for the video of the message and slides and wanted to be kept in the loop for future such events. Many of them bought books from FV on this subject and benefitted from the seminar and fellowship together over refreshments.

We pray for the good fruits that it will minister to the hearts of men. Dr Tan Kwong Leen gave a token of appreciation to our external speaker, Dr Foo on behalf of SHBPM.

This is the first time SHBPM hosted a seminar and with such a crowd. We thank God for providing available and helping hands in many of our members who came to serve the Lord in ushering, logistics, PA, recording, registration, music ministry, photostatting of the notes, food and in ensuring the smooth running of this event as ably coordinated by bro Yue Kay.

We are also grateful to God for the caring sisters from outside of SHBPM who also provided some of the refreshments and Julie Ye for setting up the book table and Dr Yap for helping with the PA.

The message was recorded on video by Bro Albert and the hard copies of the notes are available to all. One seminar attendee, a college student, commented, ‘Thank the Lord, it was indeed a magnificent day for the hearers to receive the biblical knowledge of how to deal with depression and suicide.

‘Even a few controversial questions were answered with the truth according to the Scripture. I admired the way you answered those tough questions in meekness and by bounding to the authority of the Word of God. Surely a great experience’.