A megachurch in Singapore that boasts a congregation of 16,000 announced Sunday it is moving its worship to an online forum, halting all services in person due to the rising number of coronavirus cases in the city-state.
Fear continues to spread in the international travel hub where two new cases were announced Monday, bringing the total to 75. As officials have yet to announce the halting of the CONID-19 virus, City Harvest Church announced they will no longer meet in person.
“The leadership has been deliberating over what is the wisest and most responsible thing to do for our church in view of the increasing number of cases of COVID-19 in this past week,” Rev. Ho Yeow Sun said in a Facebook video.
“This is a temporary measure,” she added, in speaking of the switch to online. “I look forward to the day when the situation stabilizes and we can all come back together for service again.”
The Catholic Church, along with other places of worship, including the Grace Assembly of God Church and Life Church and Missions Singapore, which had 13 cases linked to them, also stopped hosting services indefinitely, The Straits Times reported.
But Singapore’s Ministry of Health says “worship services may continue, but with appropriate precautionary measures.”
New Creation Church, the megachurch with more than 33,000 members pastored by Joseph Prince, held services Sunday with “all precautions in place,” including state-of-the-art thermal scanners, hand sanitizers and enhanced sanitization of high-traffic places such as lobbies, bathrooms and elevators.
Earlier in the month, Prince shared a sermon titled “Protections From Deadly Viruses – Answers From Psalm 91,” in which he told his members, “Child of God, you need not fear. You and your family are safe in the care and protection of your heavenly Father!”
Brian Thomas, who works as a logistics driver and attends church in the Bugis area, told the South China Morning Post that although the number of cases involving religious congregants is “alarming,” he believes church officials are taking necessary precautions.
“It will be a knee-jerk reaction to stop all church sessions across the country (at this point),” Thomas said. “Without the help of religion in our lives to calm people, I think it could lead to even more panic.”