The return of six former City Harvest Church leaders to the courtroom means the church is again dominating news headlines.

But while “saddening” to have the case resurface into the public spotlight again, some church members spoke to said they’ll be at peace no matter what the judges rule.

“I still know that God is in control and that He is sovereign even if certain outcomes aren’t favourable. And I’ll respect the decisions,” said Martina*, 28.

The six – founding Pastor Kong Hee, Tan Ye Peng, Chew Eng Han, John Lam, Serina Wee and Sharon Tan – were at the Court of Appeal on Tuesday, Aug 1, after the Public Prosecutor challenged a High Court decision in April that saw their original jail terms lowered under a reduced charge.


Source: Channel NewsAsia

“From time to time we think of our pastors and wonder how they are doing inside, so the news about them losing weight makes us feel sad,” said Jacqueline*, 21.

“It’s saddening – but I’m glad they are still taking it well and in high spirits. Still smiling at the crowd and church members. These are the pastors that I’ve known since the start: Always at peace, still trusting in God.”

Added Esther*, a cell group leader in the church: “We are still hoping for the best.”


“God is still moving here,” said Martina, when asked how the Church had been impacted by the events in the courtroom.

“Many peoples lives are still being changed, people are getting healed, broken lives are being restored. And the strong presence of God – it hasn’t left the church, thank God!
“And really – a church is more than its leaders. It’s still my family.”


Jacqueline echoed the sentiment, saying that judging a church on the basis of one judgment was disregarding the other good work being done elsewhere in the church.

“I know that no church is perfect, each is with its own blemish. But seeing for myself that God’s presence is still felt strongly in church week in and week out – seeing with my own eyes how people’s lives are transformed by this church and by the work of my pastors – all this makes me stay on,” she told

“Focusing on the good that comes out of our ministries makes it more meaningful. Serving in different ministries allows me to understand first-hand all the things my church is doing for the society at large.”

“And really – a church is more than its leaders. It’s still my family.”

David*, 27, said that being under the public microscope has helped the church in terms of governance – the six were convicted for criminal breach of trust, when the court ruled that money allocated to their building fund was instead used to further the pop prominence of Kong Hee’s wife, Sun Ho – and unity. He also thinks there are lessons to be learnt for the wider church.

“We are in the midst of rebuilding and trusting in God that we will become better in processes and more united, at the end of the day. As humans we are imperfect,” said David.

“And for the rest of the Christians in Singapore, I hope that this whole episode serves as a reminder of how we should still respect the laws of the land. We have to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.”


As they appeared in the courts on the morning of Aug 1, news headlines centred upon the appearance of five of the defendants, who have not been seen in public since they began their jail terms in April. The sixth, Chew, who is representing himself, has been allowed to remain out on bail to prepare for the hearing.


App notification from TODAY for the City Harvest Church hearing.
A screenshot of Straits Times’ coverage of the City Harvest hearing.


“I know many of my friends – those in City Harvest and those who aren’t – feel that the news headline about Kong’s haircut is quite lame. It isn’t necessary,” said Jacqueline.
Added Martina: “Honestly, we haven’t really been discussing the case in church of late. I think the public is more interested in this case than us.”

* The names of the City Harvest Church members interviewed were changed upon request.