City Harvest Church pastor Kong Hee has said that "God's grace is sufficient" despite the "long and arduous" road ahead after announcing that he will be appealing both against the conviction and the eight-year prison sentence he received after being found guilty of misusing close to $35-million in church donations.
"Whilst I respect the court's decision, there are points which appear to be erroneous and warrant appeal. I will therefore be preparing to file an appeal against both my conviction and sentence. Earlier today, I was informed that the prosecution has also filed an appeal against the sentence imposed by the court," the 51-year-old pastor told supporters in a Facebook message late last week.
"My lawyers will also address the prosecution's appeal at the appropriate time. I sincerely need your prayers during this process for a favorable outcome. The road ahead is long and arduous, but God's grace is sufficient for me," he added.
Kong's Facebook post was "liked" by over 1,500 people, with many offering words of encouragement and prayers.
"We've been praying for you Pastor Kong and the rest. May God's protection and wisdom be always upon you all and keep on believing on His promises as what you've taught us," wrote one supporter.
"We agree with you Pastor, what the enemy meant for evil, God WILL turn it around for good for His glory!" added another.
As reported by the Gospel Herald, six CHC members, including Kong, were convicted of misusing $35-million in church donations, which went to the music career of singer and fellow CHC Pastor Sun Ho back in October.
The CHC leaders were accused using a management company, called Xtron, as a conduit to financially support the popstar's planned U.S. album release.
In November, Kong was was sentenced to eight years in jail, while the five others accused were sentenced to between 21 months and six years each. At the time, state prosecutors said the case involved "the largest amount of charity funds ever misappropriated in Singapore's legal history."
On Friday, the CHC senior leadership team confirmed that Kong plans to appeal his sentence and added that deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng would also be appealing his five-and-a-half years sentence.
"Please continue to pray earnestly for the six and their families that God will grant them wisdom, protection and grace during this challenging time," the update reads
In a previous update shared on the CHC website, church pastors Aries Zulkarnain, Bobby Chaw and Sun Ho revealed that all six have asked for the start of their sentences to be deferred to after Christmas.
"The judge has agreed to this, setting the date at 11 January 2016," the update reveals. "All six also told the court that they are still contemplating appealing against the convictions and/or sentences. Bail has been extended for all six."
The update also thanked CHC members for demonstrating "strength and unity, particularly in the final months of the long-running trial. 'We ask you to remember and hold close to your heart the call of God upon City Harvest Church. We have learned lately what it means to have faith, trust and rest in God-let us put what we have learned to practice. Let's band together to fulfill the heavenly calling for us through CHC 2.0."