By Snr Ps Beh Soo Yeong
Over the past seven months, in our national effort to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, the church has not been able to meet. Thanks to modern technology, we have been “meeting” online during these months, whether it is for Worship Services or for CARE Group meetings. However, the prolonged absence has caused some to be weary of the online platform, and others to be increasingly lethargic or apathetic about our faith. Over the past months, we have noticed that the login count for our online service has been declining. Is it because we have grown disinterested?
As disciples of Christ, it is important that we do not forsake meeting together, but to spur one another on towards love and good deeds. We are never meant for solo Christianity. As such, it is critical that whenever possible, we should resume meeting together. I am thankful that since the circuit breaker measures have been relaxed, various ones have been meeting in small groups to fellowship and encourage one another. Some of you have also returned for our communion services, although I know that many have yet to do so.
In any case, starting 28 & 29 November, the church will resume our onsite worship services in person. Every weekend, three English Services will be conducted, besides the Youth and Chinese Services that have already resumed. Even though each service can only accommodate up to 100 persons, we are thankful that we are able to start meeting together. Of course, the worship segment is still pre-recorded (at least for now), but preaching, service-leading and holy communion shall be conducted “live”. The service timings are as follows:
2.00-3.15 pm Teenacity Service
5.30-6.45 pm English Service (with Preschool & Primary programs)
8.00-9.15 am Chinese Service
9.45-11.00 am English Service 1
11.30 am-12.45 pm English Service 2 (with Preschool & Primary programs)
There are some, however, who are reluctant to return because we are not allowed to sing. While singing is an important part of our Christian heritage, it is by no means the only way we worship. Worship is about responding to God’s invitation to honour and praise Him, not about how we feel. Worship is about obedience, not about self-indulgence. Worship is done with the heart, the mind, the spirit and the posture, not just the singing. Perhaps this is an opportune time to explore the many other ways with which we can express our praise and adoration of the Lord. Besides, coming together gives us the chance to fellowship and encourage one another, at least briefly, in small groups of five or less.
There are also those who are hesitant because of health considerations. We thank God that over the past few weeks, the infection numbers in Singapore have come down drastically and it is now relatively safe to meet. Of course, caution and care should be exercised, especially by those with pre-existing conditions or are especially vulnerable, but it is time to resume our physical services, to worship the Lord together.
Of course, at each weekend’s English Services we can accommodate only a total of 300 persons, so the online service will continue at 9.45 am every Sunday. Nonetheless, I encourage each one of us to participate in a service at least once in two weeks. To facilitate this, we encourage everyone to do the following:
1. Use the link that will be provided in our E-Bulletin and website to sign up at least two weeks in advance for the services. Request for E-Bulletin to be emailed to you via firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Pick either Weekends A (1st & 3rd) or Weekends B (2nd & 4th) and stick to them, so that everyone will have a chance to attend at least one service every two weeks regularly. Fifth weekends and special services are open to all on a first-come-first- served basis.
3. You may attend any of the three English services available that weekend and communion will be conducted at every service on every weekend.
4. Please attend only one service on any given weekend, to avoid cross mingling.
5. CGs are encouraged to sign up for the same weekends together, consistently, although each person should then register for his or her preferred service personally.
6. Of course, those who would like to come every weekend are welcome to do so, but we request that you sign up for the other weekends only in the few days leading up to it, where there are still spaces available.
7. We also need quite a few volunteers to serve (those who are serving are not counted as part of the 100 pax per service). Sign up details will be released shortly.
We recognise that you may not be able to attend the service that you prefer, but hey, it is COVID season…and things are never the same again! May I ask for your kind understanding and thank you for acting responsibly and considerately towards others. Let us reach out and encourage one another to return to our spiritual home.
It is time, it is time to return! See you during Advent!