Updated 08 Nov 2020, 1700h
The elders are monitoring the COVID-19 situation in Singapore and are committed to comply with all Ministry of Health (MOH) advisories. As the situation evolves, this page will be updated to provide information on how GBC will respond.
We are thankful for the Government's efforts to assure us, be transparent and take immediate action to protect the nation. The ECL takes reference from the Ministry of Health's advisories and will feed, guide and protect God’s flock during times of community anxiety. Our plans below reflect our civic responsibility, and the obligation to love one another and neighbor, and our best Gospel witness at this time.
On 19 Jun, Singapore enters Phase 2 of its reopening and on 30 Sep, the government further relaxed some of the restrictions for religious activities:
"From 3 Oct 2020, places of worship may conduct congregational and other worship services of up to 100 persons (up from the current 50) at a time (excluding religious and supporting workers, whose numbers should be kept to a minimum), subject to safe management measures."
As such, we will resume worship services in the Sanctuary beginning 11 Oct. This gathering will be limited to 100 people.
1. What should I do if I want to attend Sunday Worship Services?
As the service is limited to 100 people, you will need to register online beforehand (http://gracebaptistchurch.sg/service-registration). Online registration opens at noon every Sunday. Places will be allocated to the first 100 registrants.
On the day of worship, Safe Management practices will be in place (refer to the details in the registration email), some of which include:
- SafeEntry (via TraceTogether app or token effective 15 Nov) and temperature taking. Face masks must be worn at all times.
- Worshippers will be seated in groups of 50, with barriers to remind us to remain separate, and there will be designated entrances and exits to keep us from mingling across groups.
- Within each group of 50, worshippers are to only occupy marked-out seats to maintain a safe distance of at least 1 metre between individuals (not including members of your household) at all times before, during and after the service.
- There will be no live singing. Instead, the song leaders will pre-record the singing and screen it during service. The preacher will also be wearing a face shield in compliance with Government guidelines.
- There will be no classes for children. Children should remain with parents at all times and not interact with other children.
2. Will the Lord's Supper be served every Sunday?
Yes, the Lord's Supper will be conducted every Sunday after the service. The Lord's Supper elements are factory-sealed and individually-packed.
3. Will there be multiple services?
We hope to regather as many of us as possible, as we believe the Scriptures urge us to do so for our spiritual good (1 Jn 4:12-13, Matt 18:20, Heb 10:24-25). However, we will begin with just one service first, and take a cautious approach towards having multiple services. As more members get used to returning, Lord willing, we will have more services.
We encourage members to register their interest for the services weekly so that we have an indication of the desired demand and can gauge when we should be opening up more services. Online registration at http://gracebaptistchurch.sg/service-registration opens at noon every Sunday.
4. Will we continue to livestream the service?
Yes, you can still watch our services online on our YouTube channel.
5. Can ministry activities now be conducted in church?
Yes, we will also resume in-person ministry and gatherings onsite at the church building. Up to now, the Government has allowed such activities to resume but we have been cautious. Based on the latest Government guidelines, we can have up to 100 persons for such activities.
We seek everyone’s understanding that activities in the building must be registered and approved by the church office if we are to comply with Government regulations.
For all ministry activities, including care groups, meetings and classes taking place in the church building:
- Members must inform the church office, register their activities at least one week in advance, and provide the names of who exactly will attend. Non-registrants will not be allowed to enter the building.
- These activities are only permitted for duration of 2 hours at a time, and must end by 1030pm.
- Safe distancing measures must be observed, including having safe distancing between groups of 5, remaining masked at all times, and strictly no singing and/or consuming of food.
The church prayer meeting on 30 October will be the first in-person gathering we will have. It will be conducted in the Fellowship Hall and will be “hybrid”, so those who wish to participate online and in-person can both do so. Registration is required for those who want to attend the meeting onsite (http://gracebaptistchurch.sg/prayer-meeting).
6. Will staff resume work in the office?
Staff will continue to work from home by default. However, there will be staff in the church office to receive your calls and emails should you need to speak to a pastor or staff member.
7. Why should we participate in worship onsite?
Now that we can, gathering together is an important way we respond to this pandemic. We remind each other that we are not alone in our faith.
Participating online is helpful, but not sufficient. We may have become too comfortable, or sometimes participate distracted, or experience “zoom fatigue”.
When we gather, we may not be able to sing, but we can still participate actively by:
- standing reverentially
- sitting and bowing together
- praying together
- raising holy hands in worship
- hearing God’s Word preached in person, and
- uniting our hearts in the Lord’s Supper.
We can also see and greet one another, and in groups of five, have a meal together after the service.
Members are urged to come together in practical unity to resume worship, first in 100, then in a second, and more worship services.
8. What can CGs do differently now?
Care Groups (CG) can also resume in-person meetings in groups of 5 as Government guidelines allow.
- Gather on Sunday mornings to watch Sunday worship services in homes, as we were doing before the “circuit breaker”
- Gather in groups of five at homes for your own “hybrid” CG session or
- Register with the church office for the whole CG to meet together in the church building (leaders will need to register their full attendance with the office one week in advance, and observe safety guidelines like keeping masks on, having separation between groups of 5, and strictly no singing/sharing food)
Members not involved in CGs are strongly encouraged to connect with other believers at this time. You can always write to email@example.com to join a CG.
8. 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.
9. I can't attend the service, how can I participate in worship and church life?
All our services will still 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 Pastor 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
10. How can I respond to this spiritually?
Our 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 also shared 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.
11. 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.