“When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.” (Ps 42:4).
We were prevented from worshipping together from March 29 to October 18, 2020 due to Covid-19. We could only conduct supplementary communion services at RELC from October 25 at 9am and 10.15am with a maximum of just 50 persons each time. As such, worshippers could only come once a month and not every week. The regular services still had to be done online. However, the Chinese congregation due to its smaller size was able to resume full, regular worship since October 25.
The English congregation had to take baby steps towards full, regular worship. After a couple of months of supplementary communion services, and with safety measures in place and in practice, we returned to the RELC auditorium for full worship in the New Year, on January 3, 2021, with three services at9am, 10.30am, and 12pm, but limited to only a hundred people each service time.
Nevertheless, it was a joy and delight to be with others in church for worship. Coming together for holy worship is one thing the faithful in Christ desire to do. We have had “sold out” attendance every week since we started.
Now that the community spread of Covid-19 has been brought down to almost zero and with the opening up under Phase III, churches are allowed to have a maximum of 250 worshippers. Our application to up our attendance from 100 to 250 has been approved by the authorities. That is why we are here today on January 24 with more in the auditorium. With the increase in capacity, we trust the two English services at 9am and 11am would suffice. Do register your attendance via the church website. If bookings continue to be “sold out”, we will add one more service. We want to make sure that all who want to return for worship can do so.
All True Lifers should return to church for worship and service as a body and family of Christ and to partake of Holy Communion. Worshipping virtually is like worshipping in exile, like the Jews in Babylon. How the Jews yearned for Zion, and lamented, “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.” (Ps 137:1). Even today, the Jews long for the restoration of full worship in Jerusalem, and cry daily unto God for the Temple to be rebuilt. This will happen in the Millennium, when the Lord returns. “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.” (Zech 8:20–23).
When you come for worship, do cooperate with the deacons and ushers when they guide you to your respective seating zones. We cannot all “chope” our preferred or favourite seats like before. The authorities have laid down certain guidelines which we must follow. We will do our best to assist and accommodate the elderly and infirmed. Do be patient with one another. Let us be kind and forbearing—to bear with the inconveniences and make some sacrifices. This is part and parcel of worshipping the Lord.
Our English and Chinese services will continue to be livestreamed for the sake of those unable to make it to church due to health reasons. We also have friends from other churches and from overseas who join us online. We welcome all of you.
The Sunday School will still be conducted online. The Adults’ Sunday School class is taught via YouTube by Samuel Joseph at 9.15am, studying the book of Isaiah. The class can be accessed via the church website (sv “Ministries”).
The Children’s Sunday School is conducted via Zoom in the afternoon at 4.15pm, followed by Children’s Worship at 5pm.
Catechism classes are conducted by Elder Tai Mern Yee (English) and Rev Zhu Jianwei (Chinese) at 9.30am, RELC level 6.
I believe this year will still be a trying year for all of us. May the Lord keep us all, and protect us from all harm and evil, both physical and spiritual. The signs of the times tell us that the Lord’s return is nearer than we think. JK
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