As Cornerstone gears up for the new year ahead, we are thankful for God’s grace and faithfulness that brought us through an unexpected 2020.
We began the year gathering as a church for Vision Sunday at Singapore Expo on 5th January 2020, followed by our Chinese New Year services on 21st and 22nd January 2020. As the Covid-19 virus began to spread locally and around the world, Prime Minister Lee announced that Singapore’s Covid-19 situation would be classified as DORSCON Orange. For the first time in 25 years, we closed physical services and moved online on 22 March 2020.
Recordings became the new normal, and our worship and media teams got busier than ever putting the online services together. Video editing for the online Worship from Home sets alone could take almost 10 hours each, and this was excluding weeks of preparation that went into musical arrangements and recording the individual parts remotely. (Behind the Scenes footage of the Worship from Home recordings can be viewed here.)
When the nationwide Circuit Breaker was called in April, everyone had to look for new ways to collaborate and engage virtually. The pastoral team reached out through online conversations, daily devotions and calls made to cell members. Ministry continued virtually, with prayer for Healing and Guest Central taking place on Zoom.
Throughout the period of being confined at home, guest speakers like Robert Henderson, Ben Fitzgerald, Dr Suzette Hattingh, R.T Kendall and Rev John Dawson were invited to share the Word remotely with the Cornerstone Community. Our youth and children’s ministry also connected with the next generation via Zoom activities and virtual gatherings.
As the number of Covid-19 cases in Singapore fell, it was with great rejoicing that we were able to reopen our physical services again at Cornerstone Katong on 4-5 July and at our Bugis campus on 19 July. Catering to just 50 attendees then, they had to book their tickets online to secure their seats. The atmosphere was exhilarating, and you could see the smiles on people’s faces as they returned to church.
With safe distancing and precautionary measures in place, ticket numbers were increased to 100 on 12-13 September at Katong, and 4 October at Bugis. We were subsequently given approval to gradually increase our capacity to 250 at Katong and 200 at Bugis as the government began to ease the pandemic restrictions in Phase 3. Each service had to be segmented into zones of 50 people, in alignment with the national requirements.
We’re thankful for God’s grace which has brought us through a very unusual year, and if there’s something we’ve learnt not to take for granted, it has to be gathering together in church. What a joy and privilege to worship God corporately!