Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung –was elected Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore in 2016.
He served as President of the Chinese Annual Conference from 2008 to 2016.
“Him we proclaim with all wisdom…” (Colossians 1:28)
We are in the midst of a three-phase approach to resuming activities safely after Singapore’s circuit breaker ended on 1 June 2020. While we look forward to life returning to normal, the government has warned that things will not be the same as before the pandemic. Even if a vaccine is developed, we shall have to accept a new normal—living with the coronavirus—as it may never be totally eradicated.
I have been asked what the MCS will be doing for a post-COVID-19 way of life. Let me share some thoughts. I welcome your comments.
Online Sunday Worship Services
Virtual meetings and seminars
During the circuit breaker period, all were advised to stay home and face-to-face gatherings were banned. Worship services, choir practices, Bible study classes and cell group sessions were conducted online. The virtual meetings have helped reduce the time spent away from home, encouraging more participation in training courses and meetings. Not only has general effectiveness improved, there is also closer interaction among participants. Furthermore, geographical distance is no longer a barrier to inviting eminent speakers to conduct courses. This has indeed been an unexpected advantage.
Giving serious regard to the faith of our church
This gave rise to much discussion among Christian netizens of different denominations and religious backgrounds about church systems and structures, online worship services, Holy Communion, baptism and online wedding services. Many believers seemed confused and unsure who to listen to. Some members from the same traditional church background ignored instructions and did things their own way. This was when church ministers realised the importance of teaching about their own church organisation, beliefs and worship liturgy so that their members can be more discerning.
Social groups that need our greater concern
How will the Church meet the new challenges?
During the circuit breaker, workers, with a few exceptions, were required to work from home. Although some businesses were affected by reduced on-site coordination of work processes, working from home has been deemed to be generally viable. What will it mean for our church staff? Perhaps not all churches of the future can afford to provide on-site workspaces for all their pastoral and administrative staff. Rather than giving priority to office space, churches with limited space may prefer to use their space for activities and gatherings of their members and social communities.
One thing is certain: we will have to adapt to a new normal after COVID-19. It will create opportunities for the Church and chart new milestones for the gospel ministry. Let us take it to heart, plan and make our preparations.