06 September 2004

Singapore minister delighted to start work in East Yorkshire

The Revd. David Wee has swapped a parish in Singapore for one in East Yorkshire, and couldn't be happier. David began work as the minister at Willerby and Skidby Methodist Churches near Hull on 1 September and will remain there for the next five years, whatever the weather.

David says that he will enjoy preaching and visiting the people of the area most of all. "I have heard a lot about the warmth of Yorkshire people," he says, "and I hope that I will meet as many of them as possible."

David, who will be 55 in November, has been a minister since 1978, although this is the first time he has worked at a church outside Singapore. At one of his previous churches, he oversaw 11 services each Sunday in four languages - English, Korean, Mandarin and Tagalog - for a membership of over 5,000. Although David's native tongue is the Chinese dialect of Hokkien, he also speaks some Malay and excellent English. "I love the Yorkshire accent and dialect," he says. "Maybe after five years I'll go home sounding like a true Yorkshireman!"

David is keen to bring the experiences he has gained at a variety of Singaporean churches to East Yorkshire, and is also keen to learn from the people he meets here. He has travelled widely across the world, but never had any doubts about leaving the tropical heat of Singapore for the more variable climate in Britain. "I travelled widely in Britain during a sabbatical in 1999 and enjoyed it a lot," he says. "I saw that there were many opportunities for preaching and working with local communities, but also many challenges and things that are different to Singapore. When I had the chance to come, I knew that it was the right thing to do."

David, whose hobbies include singing, photography and stamp collecting, is joined by his wife Jessie for his stay in Britain. She worked as a teacher in Singapore until 1996, but says that her role will be to support David in his work. They have two grown up sons - one lives in Spennymoor, while the other is still in Singapore completing his national service. Says Jessie: "It will be hard to be away from home for so long, but we know we will have a wonderful time here."

David is in Britain as part of the World Church in Britain Partnership run by the Methodist Church. It brings a variety of ministers to Britain, where they will be able to bring fresh ideas to Methodist churches and gain experience to take home. There are currently 17 ministers working in Britain as part of the scheme.

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