Coronavirus: Singapore churches join in praying for healing

Pastor Ian Toh of 3:16 Church, with his wife, Lilis, leading an online Good Friday service as part of LoveSingapore's nationwide prayer drive yesterday. More than 100 churches signed up for one-hour slots of prayer, from 10am to 10pm, asking God for
Pastor Ian Toh of 3:16 Church, with his wife, Lilis, leading an online Good Friday service as part of LoveSingapore's nationwide prayer drive yesterday. More than 100 churches signed up for one-hour slots of prayer, from 10am to 10pm, asking God for mercy and intervention. PHOTO: LOVE SINGAPORE

Churches in Singapore took Good Friday services online yesterday, while offering prayers for healing in this time of coronavirus.

More than 100 churches signed up for one-hour slots of prayer, from 10am to 10pm, asking God for mercy and intervention.

Some churches privately convened online to pray, via Zoom or Google Hangouts.

"Despite the many things we all have to deal with in response to the new restrictions, we should not miss this very critical moment to unite in prayer," said Pastor Lawrence Khong, chairman of the LoveSingapore network of churches which organised the nationwide prayer movement. It is also supported by the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) and Evangelical Fellowship of Singapore.

Good Friday, which commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ, and Easter Sunday, which celebrates his resurrection, are two of the most important days in the Christian calendar.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted in a Facebook post yesterday that it has been a difficult time for people of faith. "They have been unable to hold their usual services because of Covid-19 measures. However, these measures are essential to protect all of us, Christians and non-Christians alike," said PM Lee.

"I am heartened that most churches have introduced online services, and hope many will continue to find solace in prayer, and be united in spirit," he added.

Earlier this week, the Mufti of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) and NCCS exchanged letters with each other in a spirit of solidarity even as the coronavirus pandemic continued to disrupt the remembrance and celebration of significant faith days.

Said Mufti Dr Nazirudin Mohd Nasir: "We truly empathise with the challenges that the Christian community faces in not being able to celebrate these momentous events in the most ideal way.

"We too face the same prospect for Ramadan and Hari Raya... This crisis will bind us even stronger in our commitment and resolve to support one another as we face an uncertain world and future."

NCCS president, Bishop Terry Kee, wrote back saying that the Christian community also remembers the Muslim community even as it prepares for Ramadan.

 
 

Just as the Christian community has had to pre-record or livestream its services, Bishop Kee said he is encouraged to hear that Muis is working alongside the asatizah to make religious programmes available online and over the radio.

The Hindu Endowments Board also sent its good wishes to Christians during Holy Week. In a Facebook post on Thursday, it also noted the upcoming Tamil New Year, and urged Hindus to tune in to the livestreams of their preferred temples, while spending a meaningful New Year next week at home with their family members.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2020, with the headline 'Singapore churches join in praying for healing'. Subscribe