City Harvest Church (CHC) played a big part in Chew Eng Han's life. He claims it was where his wife was "delivered from demons".
The couple joined the church in 1995 after being taken to a prayer session by his nephew. Church services were then held at the old Hollywood theatre in Tanjong Katong.
The congregation was only 1,300-strong, but growing fast. A year later, it had doubled. Now, it stands at more than 17,000.
Chew told The Sunday Times that his wife's father had been a medium and she, too, had dabbled in the occult. She would suffer "attacks" and have no control over her actions.
During one CHC session to help her in 1996, she did a handstand suddenly. "We were shocked," he said. Chew said Ms Ho Yeow Sun, the wife of founding pastor Kong Hee, "prayed for two hours and cast the demons out".
The couple's belief strengthened. Chew's daughters, who are 15 and 25, also grew up in the children's church of CHC.
Chew rose quickly through the ranks. He was appointed to the church board in 1998, eventually becoming vice-president and treasurer.
Chew attributes this partly to how he was donating $1,000 to the church each month. He said a pastor "asked me if I knew that the tithe is only 10 per cent. I said 'yes', and that I was earning $10,000".
Chew said he went on to become the Singapore CEO of State Street Bank, making $400,000 a year. He later quit to set up a fund management firm, Amac Capital Partners.
When his business flopped because of the sub-prime mortgage crisis in 2007, Chew said church projects gave him purpose. At that time, Amac was CHC's fund manager.
"We thought CHC was the ultimate church," he said.
This article was first published on Nov 22, 2015.
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