Updated 22 April 2020

Episcopal Letter to Public 22 April 2020

 
 
Updated 06 April 2020

Dear Aldersgate family,

 

PASTORAL UPDATE

 

Our Government on 3rd April 2020, announced enhanced measures to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. As at 3rd April 2020, the total number of cases in Singapore had reached 1114. The Government saw the need to apply a “circuit breaker” for a duration of one month to reduce the risk of a large outbreak and to reduce the number of cases of those tested positive. The introduction of a “circuit breaker” measure naturally has a rippling effect on the ministry at AMC.

 

PLACES OF WORSHIP CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC

As I shared with you from the pulpit on Palm Sunday, 5th April 2020, I do miss greeting you on Sundays but I know that we are bound together in spirit wherever we gather to worship our living and loving God. On 3rd April 2020, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) issued an advisory to all religious organisations with further restrictions on faith-based activities. Allow me to quote from the advisory:
 

Para 3  From 7 Apr 2020 to 4 May 2020 (inclusive), religious organisations are to implement additional safe distancing measures:

  1. All religious services will remain suspended and all places of worship will be closed to the public.
  2. All other religious activities (religious classes, cell group gatherings, prayer meetings) that were previously subject to no more than 10 persons, will now be fully suspended.

 

Para 4  Some religious organisations may wish to explore alternative means to support the religious need of their communities such as live streaming (emphasis mine), podcasts and online ancestral praying. If so, the activities and the people involved in implementing these alternatives must be kept to only what is essential (e.g. filming a sermon only with a worship team or band), and for as short a duration as possible. Precautionary measures must also be taken (see Annex)

 

You can read the full advisory from MCCY at https://www.mccy.gov.sg/about-us/news-and-resources/press-statements/2020/apr/covid-19-mccy-advisory-to-religious-organisations-on-elevated-safe-distancing-measures

 

Although physical worship has been suspended until 4th May 2020, do continue to join us in our Sunday online worship services.

.

TEMPORARY CLOSURE OF OUR CHURCH OFFICE

The MCCY advisory also directed the temporary closure of workplace premises. As such the Church office will be closed from Tuesday, 7th April 2020 to Monday, 4th May 2020. The pastors and the church staff will telecommute i.e. we will work from home. While we are not physically present in the church office, you can still reach out to us by calling the church office number 67731964 during office hours. This is our little effort to “Stay Home (to) Stay Safe.”
 

WEDDING SOLEMNIZATIONS

On 4th April 2020, MSF-ROM sent an update to all licensed solemnizers (myself included) to inform that only, “Couples who are scheduled to solemnize before 7 Apr can proceed to do so…couples who have filed their notice to solemnize within the period of 7 Apr – 4 May 2020, they should postpone their marriage to a later date.”

 

These may appear to be intrusions in our life but they are needful so let us together as a Body of Christ align ourselves and comply with the directives and advisories from the Government.

 

On Palm Sunday, 5th April 2020, together with Christians world-wide we cried, “Hosanna to the Son of David” (Matthew 21:9). The word “Hosanna” being a special honour given to the one who saves. In a few days, on Resurrection Sunday, 12th April 2020, we will once again greet our Risen Lord. However, from now till Easter morning, we are invited on a journey. We are invited to walk with our Lord, our King as He goes to the Cross at Calvary. Between Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday, Jesus also extends an invitation to us to join Him in the Garden of Gethsemane to, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” (Matthew 26:41). Let us continue to be fervent in prayer even as the situation around us appears confusing and perplexing.

 

Wishing You and Your Loved Ones God’s Shalom

 

Ps Lynette

 

Updated 28 March 2020

Dear Aldersgate family,

 

FURTHER DIRECTIVES FROM MOH AND THE IMPACT ON AMC CHURCH LIFE

 

In an effort to reduce the risk of community spread, our Government announced on 24th March 2020, the extension of the suspension of physical worship services till 30th April 2020. Places of worship may only be open for private worship and essential rites, subject to a 10 person limit at any one time. Our Bishop urged us as responsible members of The Methodist Church and citizens of Singapore to align ourselves with the directives issued by our Government. His episcopal letter is available for your reading here.

 

As a church family we aim to do our part to align ourselves with the directives issued by the Government and the advisories from the Bishop. The latest advisory from our Bishop is found in his episcopal letter dated 28th March 2020. You can read our Bishop’s letter here. Naturally these directives and measures will have an impact on AMC church life for example:

 

WORSHIP SERVICES

All congregational worship was suspended from 26th March 2020, 2359hours for a period of two weeks until 4th April 2020. The latest Government directive; however, states that all congregational worship will be suspended till 30th April 2020. Since the suspension of physical worship, we swung into action and decided to provide online services live streamed at www.aldersgate.sg/livestream every Sunday at 8:30am and 10:30am respectively for the English worship services and 10:30am for the Mandarin worship service. Should you and/or should you know of anyone who may require technical assistance in respect of viewing our online services, please reach out to the Church Office and we will do our best to assist you.

 

Whether you are worshipping from your home, or from your workplaces, or from any other site, whether you are worshipping as an individual, or with your families, I want to encourage you to adopt a posture of reverential worship unto the Lord. Give Him your all and give Him your best. We may be gathering in different venues, the fact still remains, we are gathering to meet the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Prepare your hearts and Position yourself to enter the Presence of the Holy One.

 

CELL GROUPS

Cell Groups will not be allowed to meet in church until further notice. With immediate effect, the Church Office will not be taking any bookings for facilities in respect of Cell Group meetings. We seek your kind understanding in this matter. Should you require technical assistance in respect of tele-conferencing during Cell Group meetings, do reach out to our Church Office in the coming week, and we will do our best to assist you.

 

We would also strongly discourage Cell Groups from holding your meetings off-site for example in homes. Instead we would encourage all Cell Groups to adopt tele-conferencing platforms for their Cell Group meetings. Should Cell Groups choose to proceed with the physical meetings, the onus would be on the Cell Group Leader or host to ensure that temperatures are taken of all Cell Group members in attendance, travel and health declaration forms are completed, that the Cell Group observes the 10-person limit, each person sits 1 meter apart and the duration of the Cell Group meetings should not be more than 30minutes. Travel and health declaration forms should be kept safely by the Cell Group Leader or host in the event that the authorities require the forms for contact tracing.

 

NON-CONGREGATIONAL ACTIVITIES

No Ministry Meetings, Committee Meetings, Bible Studies and Courses will be held in church until further notice. All are encouraged to adopt tele-conferencing platforms.

 

WEDDINGS

On 24th March 2020, MOH advised that all gatherings outside of work and school must be limited to 10 persons or less with effect from 26 Mar 2020, 2359 hrs to 30 Apr 2020. This restriction may be extended if the domestic and global situations do not improve. I appreciate that several of you have been busy preparing for your big day and are now concerned with the implications of this 10-person limit. As your pastor, it is my duty to inform you that the Registry of Marriages (Ministry of Social and Family Development) has advised that the 10-person limit includes the solemniser (i.e. your pastor) and anyone in the wedding party (including the couple, witnesses, photographer, interpreter, guests). Couples are to refer to go.gov.sg/mohupdates should you have any queries about the directives from MSF.

 

FUNERALS AND WAKES

The 10-person limit also applies to funerals and wakes. Attendance should be limited as far as possible to family members only, and gatherings of 10 or fewer people at any one point. The Government urges the public to do their part in minimising social interactions so that together we can slow down the spread of COVID-19. 

 

HOLY COMMUNION

In his second episcopal letter dated 28th March 2020, our Bishop wrote that he together with the three Annual Conference Presidents had, “…reached an unavoidable and painful decision: to suspend Holy Communion until the end of April.” Our Bishop has provided a very clear and detailed explanation of the reasons behind this decision and I include his letter here.

 

PASTORAL CARE AND PRAYER

Finally, do not suffer in silence. Should you or someone you know require pastoral care or prayer support during these challenging times, please do not hesitate to either contact the Church office during office hours at +65 6773-1964 or email us at contact@aldersgate.sg

 

MY PERSONAL APPRECIATION

There are many people to thank in this season since we suspended our physical services and went online to have our services live streamed. I especially want to thank the Audio Visual Crew who have worked tirelessly to ensure that the services that are live streamed are the best so that you and I can encounter God. These are amateur lay volunteers these are our unsung heroes. 

 

We read in Proverbs 15:8, “The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him.” Therefore let us press in to lift prayers unto our Lord and position ourselves to be in the presence of the Almighty.

 

May God’s grace be with you and your loved ones.

 

Yours in His Service

Ps Lynette

Updated 20 March 2020

Pastoral update:
Letter from Pastor-in-charge

 

Episcopal Letter to Public 20 March 2020

 
Updated 19 March 2020

Precautionary Measures for COVID-19

(Update 13 Mar 2020)
The Episcopal Letter by Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung:
Please click here
(update 15 Feb 2020)
Letter from National Council of Churches Singapore:
Please click here
(update 10 Feb 2020)
In response to the confirmed case of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection that has involved Paya Lebar Methodist Church, The Methodist Church in Singapore, has released a message available here.

FAQ for churches regarding the COVID-19 situation, please view here