Updated 31 Jul 2020, 1500h
Our English Congregational Leadership (ECL) is monitoring the Covid-19 situation in Singapore and maintains a commitment to all Ministry of Health (MOH) advisories. As the situation evolves, this page will be updated to provide information about how GBC will respond.
We are grateful to live in a country where the Government speak with calm and transparency and take immediate actions to guide and protect the nation. The ECL takes reference from the Ministry of Health's advisories and is committed to feed, guide and protect God’s flock during times of community anxiety. Our recommendations below reflect our civic responsibility, our obligation to love one another, and our best Gospel witness during this community crisis.
On 19 Jun, Singapore enters Phase 2 of its reopening where some religious activities are now allowed. Please read the latest measures that GBC will put in place with this reopening in this pastoral article by Pastor Ian on 25 June and the church's upcoming plan to offer the Lord's Supper on-site detailed in this article on 30 July.
1. With the reopening, will Sunday worship services resume?
• No, although places of worship may resume services with restrictions and subject to a limit of 50 persons at a time during the current phase, in order to be better protect everyone, we encourage everyone to continue to participate in the service online via our YouTube channel. Beginning 28 Jun, however, we will once again be able to livestream our worship services from the sanctuary (instead of pre-recording in our homes) with several precautions being put in place (see Qn 3 below).
• Beginning 16 August, we will offer the Lord’s Supper on Level 3 every Sunday for a gathered congregation of up to 50 participants. A registration link will be made available on the Sunday (noon) prior to the Sunday of your planned attendance and we ask that you not register for more than one service per month. Those attending will need to wear masks and will need to register entry through the SafeEntry app. Read Pastor Ian's article on 30 July for more details.
2. Will the church premises be opened?
• Beginning 6 July, small groups of less than 5 may schedule meetings on the church premises. This may include Tuition Ministry, counselling, or one-to-one Bible reading. Anyone entering the building during this time will need to call ahead and book the time and space with our Administrator who is serving as our Safe Management Officer. All will be required to wear masks and practise safe distance while in the building and meetings will be limited to one hour.
• Beginning 7 July, though the staff will continue to work from home by default, the pastors will be in the office on a week-by-week rotation. Weekly staff meetings will continue to be held over Zoom.
All other ministry activities will continue to be conducted online (see Qn 3 below).
3. What is GBC doing based on the government's guidelines?
To comply with the government's direction and to be faithful in protecting the Father's sheep,
• Our worship services will be livestreamed via our YouTube channel. The livestream of worship services will be done with a small team of 10 or less people. All will be required to register their entry and exit through the SafeEntry app, everyone will wear masks, and will maintain safe distance. The worship leaders and preacher will be allowed to remove their masks while singing or preaching. There will also be “single flow traffic” meaning, participants will access Level 4 by the southwest stairwell and will exit by the northwest stairwell.
• Although we will be offering the Lord's Supper on Level 3 every Sunday beginning 16 August, we are limiting the number of people to 50 (prior registration is required) and all participants will need to register entry and exit through the SafeEntry app, wear masks and maintain safe distance. There will also be no singing during the screening of the service on Level 3. In addition, there will be no co-mingling between the worship and AV team on Level 4 and the congregation on Level 3.
• These ministry activities will continue to be conducted online:
- Children's Ministry
- Youth Ministry
- Equip & Church Matters
- Care Groups
- Small Group Bible Studies
- Monthly Elder-led Prayer Meeting
- Quarterly Congregational Meeting
In submission to secular authorities, GBC will seek to fully abide by all government guidelines. The elders will consistently review government guidance and will adjust how we worship accordingly.
4. What biblical principles should be guiding our decision-making as a church at this time?
The principles that are helping the ECL make our decisions at this time are:
- Trust in our good and sovereign Father;
- Love for one another and others;
- Submission to the authorities;
- Regularly gathering as God's people; and
- Respecting one another's consciences.
5. How can I still participate in worship and church life?
All our services will be available online! You can subscribe to our YouTube channel and join us from home.
Also, sign up for our Grace Enews to stay up-to-date with church life. All GBC worshippers and members are encouraged to sign up to the Enews so we can keep you updated with the latest information in this crisis.
We are also thankful for the many care groups in GBC that will continue to care for during this period. We encourage members to check in on one another, pray for and with each other and meet online with each other where possible and appropriate. Read Ps Eugene's note to the CG Leaders.
In this period, if you require practical help including visits and financial support, where appropriate, please do write to our Member Care team at email@example.com. You can also find out more here.
If you have any prayer needs, please allow the pastors-elders the privilege to pray alongside with you. You can submit your prayer requests here. Starting from 7 July, you can also call one of our pastors who will be in the office on a week-by-week rotation.
6. How can I respond to this spiritually?
Our pastors and elders understand the real fear that this global pandemic can create. Sin, sickness, suffering and death is real and we are not immune to it. The gospel is good news because God has not left us alone in this world. This place is not our home, and He has made a way back for us in Jesus Christ. The greatest news for us is not just an end to this situation. The greatest news is that Jesus lived in obedience to God without sin, died on the cross to bear the judgment and wrath of God for sinners, and rose again in victory. All who place their faith and trust in the finished work of Christ have been forgiven of their sins and are restored to the Father. They no longer fear sickness and death in this world, because they have a new hope of eternal life in God, and can look forward to an end of death, sickness and tears (Rev 21:4).
If you do not know the salvation that we have in Christ and would like to find out more, write our pastors and elders and we'd love to tell you more! And if you do know the joy of having Jesus as your Saviour, we encourage you to ponder on this daily and share this good news with those around you. If you have any prayer needs, you can share with us here.
Our pastors have also written a few reflections and articles:
- Adjusting to Changing Normals (30 Jul 2020)
- Protection is Not a Metaphor (25 Jun 2020)
- Preparing for New Normal (18 Jun 2020)
- While We Wait (28 May 2020)
- (No More) McDonald’s and the Unmasking of My Idols (23 Apr 2020)
- The Gift of Losing Control (16 Apr 2020)
- Community and the Coronavirus (9 Apr 2020)
- Skeletons in My Ministry Closet (2 Apr 2020)
- "If God Should Wish to Take Me" (19 Mar 2020)
- Ships. Going Nowhere. (13 Mar 2020)
- Trusting God our King (20 Feb 2020)
- There, Though Not There (13 Feb 2020)
- Faithfulness and the Coronavirus (6 Feb 2020)
We often sing this in our services — "When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay". This is especially true for us today!
As a way of keeping in touch with the congregation, our GBC elders and pastors have also been sharing a midweek devotion from their hearts during the "circuit breaker" period. These weekly devotions are available on our YouTube channel. We hope these devotions will minister to you and encourage you.
7. What other practical steps can I take?
There are many ways we can be faithful followers of Jesus in this uncertain period:
• Pray for the Singapore Government and world leaders to make informed decisions and policies that will be for the good of the people.
• Pray also for strength for the healthcare workers who are working hard and mercy and quick recovery for those who are sick. We have a couple of doctors and nurses in GBC who are currently stationed in the Government hospitals. Thank God for them and continue to pray for them! More prayer points can be found here.
• Stay informed and avoid passing on false information. Subscribe and pass on news only from official and reputable news outlets.
• Check in on one another, especially on the elderly and those who are sick. Find ways to serve and love each other!