ORCHARD ROAD PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
ADVISORY ON CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019, COVID-19
(UPDATED 15 FEBRUARY 2020, 9AM)
Suspension of ORPC Sunday Worship Services for 16 and 23 February 2020
Dear ORPC members and friends,
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Latest update of the COVID-19 situation in Singapore
As of 14 February, 12pm the situation is: 67 confirmed cases, 17 discharged, and 6 in critical condition. In the last two days, there has been a spike of 8 and 9 new cases on 13 and 14 Feb, respectively. Sadly, there has also been 2 church “clusters”, with a total of 18 confirmed cases.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) has recognized the start of community spread of COVID-19 and has announced new pre-emptive measures on 14 February to reduce the risk of further spread of the virus. The MOH has also advised that worship services may continue in the current situation, but with appropriate precautionary measures.
ORPC’s COVID-19 Response
Since the raising of the virus alert level to DORSCON Orange on 7 February, ORPC has put in place appropriate control measures like sending advisories to members, temperature screening, reducing mingling, as well as suspending or deferring some programmes.
However, in light of the developments mentioned above, and considering our unique circumstances as a church with 5 different congregations (AM English, PPC Mandarin, Indonesian, German, and PM English) worshipping on Sunday in the city centre of Singapore, the ORPC Session has decided on the night of 14 February the following:
1. Our Sunday Worship Services, including the AM and PM English Services, Sunday School, Youth Service, and Indonesian Service will be suspended for two weeks (16 and 23 February).
This decision was not made with fear of the virus, but with faith in God, having full confidence that He will sustain and use the church for His purposes through any circumstance. We also made this decision as: (1) it is the loving thing to do, taking the opportunity to pause and consider how we can better protect our congregation in order to continue our worship services and ministries in the weeks and months ahead; and (2) because it is the responsible thing to do, helping our nation to curb the spread of the virus.
2. For 16 February, a recording of the Choral Anthem and Sermon will be made available online here. We will work towards a recording or livestream of the full service on 23 February. Even as we cancel or defer large group gatherings, small groups are encouraged to continue meeting for worship and prayer, in addition to their usual bible studies and fellowships. More details will be announced with regards to Sunday worship services as they are made available.
Let us reflect on what God might be saying to us through this crisis. One passage in the Bible is particularly instructive on how we should respond to God in the face of grave danger. “If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us” (2 Chron. 20:9). These were the words uttered by a fearful King Jehoshaphat at a time when a large army was dispatched from Edom, closing in on Judah. Note the use of the term “plague” or “pestilence.”
While Jehoshaphat was “alarmed” and “resolved to inquire of the Lord” (20:3), he placed his trust in God for the potential of military defeat and in the face of pestilence or plague. After Jehoshaphat seeks God, he proclaims a national fast: “The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him” (21:4). The king knew that his true help comes from the Lord, and he called upon his people to seek God.
Jehoshaphat then offers a model prayer in vv. 5-12. He appeals to God’s character, his promises, and his actions in the past. The prayer culminates in this declaration: “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you” (21:12). God later responded by sending a prophet to remind Judah that the battle does not belong to them; it belongs to God (20:15). May we all look to the Lord for help.
Yours in Christ,
Rev Clive Chin
Senior Minister, ORPC
15 February 2020