by Goh Eck Kheng
The congregation spaced in the auditorium according to social distancing rules.
PHOTO BY EDDIE CHAU
After 34 weeks from when the Covid-19 Circuit Breaker started in Singapore on 7 April 2020, members of the CCMC community gathered physically at 9 am on 6 December in the MGS auditorium once again for Sunday worship service in English. This holy communion serve was conducted by our pastor-in-charge, Rev Dr Malcolm Tan, and Rev David C S Wee.
The congregation for this service was limited to 50 people in accordance to the advice of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY). The registration for attendance of the service opened at 10 am on Sunday, 29 November, and all places were taken up in about 30 minutes.
In the words of Patrick Han, LCEC Vice-Chairman and Associate Lay Leader, "It is very blessed to be able to come together once again as a body of Christ to give thanks and worship our Lord in unity."
Added Tan Ming Ying, Chairperson for Prayer and Intercession, “A few of us who were early, had an impromptu pre-service prayer inviting God's presence to be experienced by all from the CCMC community worshipping today, be it on-site or on-line – English, Mandarin or Korean.”
The first member to arrive was Desmond Ee who completed checked in at 8.35 am. Most members of the congregation greeted each other by waving silently as they arrived for the service. According to MCCY rules, no mingling and talking should happen before and after services.
Desmond Ee with CCMC Administrative Assistant, Jun Wei.
Still, as Calvin Chong, Chairman of the Music and Worship Committee, expressed, “It was quite special worshipping at a physical place with other warm bodies!”
Church staff Betty Wee, Sammi Si-Hoe, Yeo Hwee Lan and Joseph Lim, in their roles of MCCY-appointed safety officers, were present and active in their various duties to ensure a safe resumption of the in-person worship service. After clearing safe-entry and confirming registration, members of the congregation proceeded to the auditorium to take seats in alternate rows within designated zones. Although the general rule is that people should sit in alternate seats, members of the same household were allowed to sit next to each other.
During the time of pre-recorded worship, which uses the same recording as the on-line service, the congregation was encouraged to sing from our hearts rather than with our voices as singing out loud is not allowed. Members found other ways of expressing worship by swaying to the music, humming, clapping to the rhythm, and raising hands.
Offering was dropped into in open boxes carried by ushers. The instruction was that the box should not be touched while doing so. Alternatively, offering was made digitally using the QR code and links shown on the screen.
Holy Communion was served during the service, as it will be during all on-site services during the Covid period.
Said LCEC Chairman David Koh, "It was very meaningful to gather and receive Communion after so many months."
The elements of wafer and grape juice for the sacrament were served in capsules. The wafer was taken out by lifting the transparent tab on the capsule while the cup was opened by lifting the foil tab.
Pastor Malcolm Tan encouraged all who wish to attend on-site services to register; there is no need to hold back. This is because as more indicate their desire to worship on site, other on-site services at 11 am, 11.15 am and 5 pm will be started, not necessarily in that order, successively in stages to meet demand. Mandarin services will be held in the chapel on the first Sunday of the month, subject to further review.
No on-site service will be held on Christmas Day, but there will be an on-site Watch Night Service which will also be broadcast. For those of the CCMC congregation who attend the Watch Night Service on-line, instructions will be given at a later date on how they may collect consecrated communion elements to be taken during the broadcast of the service. There will also be the broadcast of “Heaven and Nature Sing”, CCMC’s pre-recorded Christmas evangelistic celebration, from 8 pm, 18 December 2020 to 6 January 2021.
It was evident that those attending this first on-site service after many months were happy to gather and meet each other. There were many sparkling eyes above masks and smiles under them as people waved cheerily to each other. It was wonderful to see how each discovered and expressed worship other than by singing.
Said Associate Lay Leader Lee Yin Siau, “It was such a blessing to see so many friends. I could feel everyone’s joy despite the masks that hid the smiles. I was moved to tears when everyone silently ‘sang’ the Doxology. Like Ps Malcolm said, we can’t get away from the pandemic. The signs are all around us. But the love of the Father who sent His only Son to enter this world is with us and all around us too!”
Because of how quickly registration of this first on-site service was filled, it was decided that the 9 am on-site English services from 13 December 2020 will be open to 100 people till further notice.
Online registration for the on-site service for the following Sunday begins at 10 am every Sunday on a first-come-first served basis. Registration will be for two zones limited to 50 person for each zone.
Zone A Link: https://ccmc.tq.sg/9am.A Zone B Link: https://ccmc.tq.sg/9am.B Note which zone you have registered for and keep ONLY to your zone by observing the markings and instructions given on-site. Strictly NO intermingling between worshippers in Zones A and B is allowed. A very limited number of seats will be set aside for those unable to self-register online. Call 9834-5669 during office hours only (Mon-Fri, 9 am-5.30 pm) and CCMC office staff will assist you in registration for the following week’s service. Please note that emails and WhatsApp messages will NOT be accepted for this assisted registration.
All successful registrants will be sent a SecureMeet SMS message with instructions to activate the MeetUp Pass within 2 minutes of receipt. Registration is NOT confirmed until that is done. When registration is successful on activation of the MeetUp Pass, a link to retrieve your MeetUp Pass will be sent to you also by SMS.
On approaching the concourse on Sunday, individuals scan the QR code for safe entry check in using the TraceTogether app. Upon ushers confirming that the safe entry check in has been activated and after temperature taking, one proceeds to the registration table to prove registration by showing the MeetUp Pass. Members of the congregation are then requested to use the hand sanitizer provided before proceeding to the auditorium.