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There, Though Not There


Pastor Ian shares how we can still join the church family for Sunday worship even if we cannot be physically there, as well as the latest measures GBC will be taking for Sunday's worship service.

Some of you noticed that Sherri and I were not in the service this past week. Because I came back from Vancouver with a deep Canadian cold, our elders advised us to remain home and so this is what we did. And yet, because of the faithful ministry of our Communications and AV Teams, we were able to join our church family from the quarantined confines of Neptune Court! We were there, though not actually there. 

We prepared our hearts for worship as Elder Lup Meng read out our Reflection Question. We sang along as Mel and Toshi led us in worship. As our ushers prepared to receive the offering, Sherri went online to express our gratitude through our tithe. And as Elder Caleb led us through God’s Word, we followed along, Bibles opened and pen in hand. 

If you are feeling unwell this coming week—even if you know it has nothing to do with the coronavirus (COVID-19), or if you know your immune system is already compromised, let me encourage you to consider doing the same:

  • As we prepare to look at the truths of Luke 5:12-26, you can be there, though not there, by joining us online here
  • As we bring together God’s tithe, you too can give online. If you’re unfamiliar with how to do this, you can find information here
  • Additionally, immediately following our service this Sunday, we will be asked to affirm the recommendation of our Elders to appoint Pastor Eugene to serve for a five-year pastoral term, as well as Jonathan Tan and Nehemiah Chong to a three-year elder term. If you’re at home you can still participate by sending in the proxy form which you can find here (do note the form has to be sent to the church office by 10am this Friday, 14 Feb.) 

For the rest of us, please know that our elders continue to seek ways to ensure congregational safety while also demonstrating an allegiance to the gospel and encouraging a robust trust in Christ. So if you are making plans to join us this Sunday (and we hope you are!) please give yourself some additional time so that we can comply with added government recommended guidelines. 

This Sunday, in addition to maintaining a tracking record,

  • We will begin to scan all attendees for fever.
  • Until DORSCON Level Orange is lifted, we will no longer have food at the hospitality table.
  • During the Lord’s Supper, we will continue to use sealed elements.
  • Unless the DORSCON level is raised to Red, other large ministry meetings (weddings, Bible conferences, etc.) will continue with the same safeguards as our Sunday morning services.
  • Small groups (Bible studies and Care Groups) will continue at the discretion of participants. 

If you have additional concerns—particularly during the offering—there are two short-term options you may consider:

  • First, consider bringing hand sanitiser with you.

Let me also ask you to be extremely cautious about spreading anxiety through the posting of unverified ‘news’ about the spread and lethality of this virus. There is much misinformation out there. For the most reliable updates on the impact and community response to this virus, you can find reliable information, updated daily by our Ministry of Health: 

singapore-skyline-ian-buntain-2Finally, this past Monday, Sherri and I took a bike ride to the Gardens by the Bay. As we crossed over the barrage, the sky suddenly began to turn dark and I paused to gaze at the city to which God has brought us. What I saw was a gathering of menacing clouds hovering over our unusually well ordered, spectacularly beautiful urban paradise. And I was suddenly overwhelmed by a deep sense of gratitude.

  • How thankful I am for God’s provision of national leaders who, in the midst of crises, speak to the nation with calming assurance.
  • How thankful for public agencies that provide transparency and wise counsel.
  • How grateful I am for those who serve on the frontlines; for doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. May the Lord protect them as they serve our nation.
  • How grateful I am for the God who holds all of us in His loving, providential care; and who is able to use times of crisis to turn our hearts afresh to Him!
  • How grateful I am that He is always there, even when we are not.