COVID-19: Singapore's Anglican, Methodist churches to suspend services until 3 April

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UPDATE: The Methodist Church in Singapore also announced its suspension of worship services until 5 April.

SINGAPORE — All 27 parishes of the Anglican Church of Singapore will suspend their worship services and gatherings until next month.

In a media release on Thursday (19 March), the Anglican Diocese of Singapore said that the decision has been made to intentionally create a two-week break in church gatherings.

While the statement did not state the reason for the suspension, the move comes after a member of St Andrew's Cathedral was confirmed on Wednesday to have contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The Anglican Diocese intends to resume services on the weekend of 4 and 5 April, the start of Holy Week.

On Friday, the Methodist Church in Singapore also announced its suspension of worship services until 5 April.

Challenge facing Anglican leaders

In a pastoral letter to Anglican leaders on Thursday, Bishop Rennis Ponniah said that the suspension will “give a crucial and concerted two-week break in the nation’s common effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus, and to contain the potentially grave situation with the influx of returning students and residents”.

“The big challenge we are facing as Anglican leaders is how to discharge our social responsibility under God,” he wrote in his letter.

“As I have deliberated the above question before God... 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 5 April.”

Online weekend services and pastoral care

The Anglican churches will make provisions for measures such as online weekend services, as well as pastoral care for the elderly and vulnerable. They have an average weekly attendance of about 21,000 in Singapore.

Likewise, the Methodist churches have told their congregation to join one of their podcasts or live-streams for their weekly services.

The Catholic Church in Singapore has already suspended mass in light of the rising number of COVID-19 infections in Singapore.

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