Members of City Harvest Church expressed their full support for the wife of senior pastor Kong Hee, Ho Yeow Sun, as Kong serves his jail term at Changi Prison for three years and six months.
While the past two weeks had been the most difficult in the church's history, CHC members said they will continue to pray for the five CHC leaders who started serving time last Friday.
"We will be praying for the team, while giving Sun and the leadership our full support in bringing the church forward," Chiong Xiao Ting, the church's Chinese interpreter, said according to an article published on CHC's website, City News.
Businessman Teo Hsin Yi, who attended the small group of John Lam, one of the five incarcerated CHC leaders, said she chose to focus on the good.
"After these seven years, what do I choose to remember? The answer is plain: I will remember the good that my pastors and friends have done," she said, recounting how Lam helped her family when her husband was hospitalized because of dengue hemorrhagic fever, City News reported.
Two days before he surrendered himself to the courts for the start of his prison sentence, Kong wrote a long and heartfelt message on Facebook and once more asked forgiveness for those who have been affected and offended by the seven-year legal ordeal.
He expressed disappointment that the judges' verdict resulted in a conviction but said he was thankful that his original jail sentence of eight years was reduced to three years and six months.
He also took responsibility for the handling of church funds for the Crossover Project and said his heart was "at peace" as he faced prison.
"I accept responsibility for the manner in which I had sought to bring the Crossover Project to fruition in using the building fund," Kong wrote.
"As the senior pastor of City Harvest Church since its beginning in 1989, I have always had the church's best interests at heart and will always continue to do so," he added.
Conceived in 2002, the Crossover Project was set up to preach the gospel through pop music, specifically the music of Kong's wife Sun Ho. The megachurch senior pastor and five other CHC leaders were accused of using S$24 million church funds for the Crossover Project and then using S$26 million to cover it up.
In 2015, the court found all six guilty, with Kong receiving three charges of criminal breach of trust. They all filed an appeal, after which the court gave them shorter jail terms.
At Changi Prison, Kong is expected to have no more than two visits every month, which can either be in the form of two 30-minute televisits or one 30-minute televisit plus one 20-minute face-to-face visit. Aside from this, the pastor will participate in the usual activities like counseling and work, according to The Straits Times.
Ironically, CHC has been holding services and outreaches at Changi Prison since 2001. Kong and the others will not be allowed to join such activities to avoid "conflict of interest."