Dear Clergy, Deaconesses , Diocesan Lay Leaders , Church Wardens & Parish Leaders,
Thank you for praying for me as I sought the Lord with the rapidly escalating COVID-19 situation before us. An unchartered path of our Diocesan journey has begun. The Lord is with us in the trial . He is accomplishing His good and often hidden purposes. We need by the help of the Holy Spirit to be in step with Him.
The big challenge we are facing as Anglican leaders is how to discharge our social responsibility under God. The phrase “under God” is paramount to a priest’s calling as he serves the body of Christ by upholding this central concern at all times. That is fundamental to the way I have sought to lead us as God’s appointed Shepherd .
As I have deliberated the above question before God today, aided by the prayers & counsel of senior leaders, I have found God’s peace to take the following measure. I believe it will be right in our Lord’s eyes for our flock in Singapore to suspend all our parish worship services till the weekend of Palm Sunday on 5th April. This will help give a crucial & concerted 2-week break in the nation’s common effort to combat the spread of the corona virus and to contain the potentially grave situation with the influx of returning students & residents.
The Lord will guide & help us as a Church to continue to obey Heb 10:24-25 on “meeting regularly “ in new, fresh & responsible ways during this period & even beyond. The Senior Clergy & I are working out measures to continue to pastorally feed & care for God’s flock in this new situation where we are no longer physically meeting in numbers to worship the Lord. A new Advisory will be sent to you.
I will be also sharing in a Pastoral Letter to all our flock my journey in making this decision at the present point in time and the priority to step up prayer to the only One who can deliver the world from this pandemic. This Letter is due to be sent tomorrow ( Friday).
It is the Lord who dynamically reveals His will as we weigh up the different factors involved in seeking to honour Him. Today in our church’s Lectionary is the Feast Day of Joseph of Nazareth. He exercised great faith in being an instrument of God’s saving purposes. At the same time, the Joseph of the Old Testament was used by God to preserve life in the midst of famine ( Gen 45:5-7). So too may it be for our Diocese as we make this decision to glorify God in the present circumstances in Singapore . God always calls His people to work for the promotion of “life”. Our motto as the redeemed people of God is “blessed to be a blessing.” The time has come,I believe, for us to do this by suspending our worship services as we join in the concentrated national effort over these 2 weeks to ‘flatten the curve” of COVID19 . May the Lord in His mercy give our nation good success.
Again, my fellow under-shepherds , thank you for praying & standing alongside me before the throne of God, and shepherding His people on the field.
The Lord be with us all & shine forth His glory.
Warmly in Christ,