The Ministry of Culture, Community & Youth (MCCY) issued an advisory on “Resumption of More Religious Activities in Phase 2” on 18 June 2020 and conducted a dialogue with the National Council of Churches in Singapore (NCCS) on 22 June 2020. Having received MCCY’s advisory, this communique seeks to set out PSPC’s posture in Phase 2.
B. CONTINUAL SUSPENSION OF CONGREGATIONAL GATHERINGS
The control measures for religious organisations are based on the Density-Intensity-Duration (DID) criteria – transmission risks are lowered when there is low density (i.e. the number of people capped to a maximum of 50 people), low intensity (i.e. no congregational singing to minimise droplets) and shortened duration (i.e. worship services are kept to the maximum of 1 hour).
We need to discern what is prudent from what is permissible during this early stage of Phase 2 safe transitioning. Furthermore, the prevailing control measures of 50 people with no congregational singing is logistically unfeasible for PSPC’s context.
Therefore, we will continue to minister to the congregation via online worship service and Communion. PSPC will continue to suspend congregational gatherings until further notice.
C. CONTINUAL CLOSURE OF CHURCH PREMISES
Although MCCY advisory allows religious activities such as classes to be conducted under control measures, PSPC will continue to close the church premises because as an overnight shelter for rough sleepers, we are also regulated by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).
Over the past few weeks, the number of rough sleepers in The Oasis@PSPC overnight shelter has steadily decreased as they are being resettled in more permanent accommodation. Therefore, PSPC will revert the Oasis back to its original capacity of 3 rough sleepers by end June and then arrange for deep cleaning and sanitization of the church premises in July.
Therefore, all PSPC classes, seminars, workshops and cell groups will continue to be conducted via online platforms until further notice.
D. WEB AND LIVESTREAM CAPABILITY
MCCY’s Phase 2 advisory has allowed the number of people for onsite livestreaming to be increased from the original 5 people to 10 people. PSPC has been working to increase manpower and enhance the capability of the web and livestream team so that we can prepare to move from pre-recorded services to onsite livestreamed services at a suitable time. Congregants who have such expertise or experience are welcome to contribute. Please contact Pr Adriel Yeo (firstname.lastname@example.org).
E. PASTORAL EXHORTATION
In the Christian liturgical calendar, the season after Pentecost is also known as the second part of Ordinary Time – the first part of Ordinary Time is from Christmas to Lent. It is named “Ordinary Time” because compared to the high points of Lent, Holy Week, Good Friday, Easter and Pentecost, there are no major Christian festivals until Advent and Christmas at the end of the year.
Be that as it may, this should not detract us from the potentials of Ordinary Time. This is because the liturgical colour for Ordinary Time is green to symbolize hope and growth in daily life even without the “highs”. The promise of hope and growth is all the more poignant in a pandemic – there is the promise of hope in God even in a seemingly hopeless world, who brings new life and growth by reforming our lives, realigning our priorities and re-examining our presuppositions.
In this way, we see spiritual realities from worldly illusions, separate essentials from non-essentials, and experience God’s unsurpassed powers for man’s unprecedented predicaments. May your season of Ordinary Time be a personal encounter with the Extraordinary God to bring about hope and growth. Amen.
Rev Darryl Chan
With Elders & Deacons Court
23 June 2020