“The worst may not be over, but it has not worsened.” The situation seems to be stabilising. This is how I see it even as we gather - or stay away- for another weekend of worship. As I said last week, we will do our best to “over-communicate.” We do appreciate the feedback we have received, and whatever steps we take need to be coherent and consistent across our Services.
Do note that the prevention factors advised by our Ministry of Health remain as the most important ones, such as the need for us to stay away if we have any symptoms of sickness, even if they are mild. We are now broadcasting (or live-streaming) our 8am Service weekly.
The multiple cameras in the Nave allow us to do it quite effectively. As the words read or sung by the congregation are projected on screen, this means that even from your home, you can meaningfully participate in the Service ie. singing along with the hymns and joining in the prayers. You can still watch the video later. My advice is that you don’t just run it in the background or watch it from your bed. Set aside time for intentional worship or do it together with your family for the needed focus and discipline. If you have a cup of coffee by your side, I would think that is acceptable! Giving is also an act of worship, a weekly discipline to be encouraged. Please note the online giving options that are available.
Should our Connect Groups meet? There is no blanket answers to this as each group is different. I have confidence that the leader and core members will find their own rhythm. Please pray for wisdom and love and care for one another in Christ.
While we may postpone our Alpha and Confirmation classes, this is a season where many need to hear the Gospel. We had a lot of training last year on personal evangelism and were reminded not to over-rely on event-based evangelism. This is a good time to pray and learn to “coffee” with your friends and seekers.
It is a different way of being Church and perhaps changes in recent years have positioned us to respond to this crisis. As we have been told in our clergy meeting, it is time our parishes take IT tools seriously. Indeed, we must. Good Christian Education courses can be made available online. We have so many good sermons preached every Sunday and this should be made easily available. Even if a member did attend a Service, to be able to hear what was being said in another is a blessing. Hymns and worships songs, sung in season, are another source of blessing. The SAC community needs to be connected online and our presence there can also be a form of our witness to the world. We do know how the latest tools can help seniors to be connected. Please do your bit to help some who may not know how to. With the use of apps, it has been reduced to the touching of an icon. It isn’t more complicated than that.
And as the Church goes “on screen”, we also realise that a huge majority of our city folks, especially those in the youth and young adults category are already spending a lot of time on screens. Our young people in SAC can participate and show the way and help SAC to level up.
About 12 years ago, I wrote an article on the importance of IT in the Trinity Theological College Journal and how it is changing the way we do Church. It was by no means an academic article with a list of footnotes and I am sure it was not highly regarded in some quarters. I know I will always have to struggle with sceptics for the rest of my ministry (God give me strength). I am seeing “what the Father is doing” and in prayer and reflecting deeply, I have always sought to serve His Church prophetically and by His grace, and to lead that we may go from point A to B. “What we should do, where we should be going” is a needed leadership responsibility. It can frustrate those who cannot see or who do not like changes or movements. I don’t always have the authority to get everyone headed in the right way. And so I keep talking, explaining, cajoling, writing etc. I am most comforted that this is His Body with many members, where each is to do their part and we let Him orchestrate.
This season will sift, reveal and test the authenticity, robustness and resilience of our faith and relationship with God. As Revd Hambali has shared, “this crisis can disciple us.”