Easter observances affected by latest MOH advisory

Salt&Light // March 20, 2020, 9:41 pm

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash.

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash.

In light of 40 new COVID-19 cases reported today (March 20), three-quarters of which are imported, stricter safe distancing measures have been announced by the Multi-Ministry Taskforce to stem further coronavirus transmission.

The new social distancing measures include suspending all events and gatherings with more than 250 participants, and requiring those at smaller gatherings to sit at least one metre apart.

The updated guidelines, which now include church services and weddings, is an expansion of the previous requirement that limits only ticketed events to fewer than 250 participants.

It will take place with immediate effect and is set to last until June 30. This goes beyond the two weeks that the Methodist Church in Singapore and the Anglican Diocese have announced they are suspending services for.

The ban, which now includes church services and weddings, is an expansion of the previous requirement that limits only ticketed events.

This means that Christians’ observance of Easter Sunday, which remembers the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, will be affected.

Apart from the social distancing measures, events and gatherings must also comply with the existing guidelines, including improving ventilation, putting in place health screening and contact tracing measures, said MOH.

Explaining the reason behind these new measures, the advisory stated: “Even as we tighten our borders and isolate all imported cases, we must also redouble our efforts within Singapore to prevent further spread of the virus.

“The MOH has studied the pattern of transmission amongst the locally transmitted cases, and found that many were infected during events and social gatherings, and interactions between colleagues at workplaces.

“These safe distancing measures must be stepped up urgently in tandem with our parallel efforts to tighten our borders, and to quarantine and ring-fence any infection clusters. 

“All of these efforts, combined with good personal hygiene and social responsibility, can help to suppress the spread of COVID-19 in Singapore.”

Some churches already have plans to gather their flock as families or limited groups, returning to the New Testament model of house churches.

In a video and text messages sent out to his church, Trinity Methodist Church (TMC) pastor-in-charge Rev Alvin Chan spoke optimistically about the opportunity “to do church differently”.

His reminder: “The church is not a place, but a people” for the purpose of encountering God.

TMC is implementing its Church@Home initiative, which includes a prerecorded segment of worship, prayer and sermon, as well as questions for discussion and activities for children.

“The well-being of our community has always been our priority and we always want to ensure that we honour and respect the recommendations of our government and our church leaders. We want to do our bit to contain the virus.

“Our hope is that even in such a season, we will be able to have a meaningful online experience, stay engaged, and build community together.”

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