The Elders of Emmanuel EFC have recently met and after deliberation and prayer, have come to a decision to cancel all church gatherings for a period of 2 weeks, effective immediately. This would include our Sunday Church Service, Sunday School, Table Tennis, English Language Club, Care Groups (including those held in homes and in church), Youth Alive!, College CG and YWA.
This means we will not have Sunday Service on March 15 and 22 (until further notice). We will continue to monitor and review the situation and inform all EEFC members accordingly.
We will also take measures to sanitize and decontaminate the church premises, furniture and surfaces for the next 3 months, and beyond, if necessary.
This unprecedented decision is a difficult one to take and many would have questions about the reasons why we have decided to do so. We face a pandemic that we feel necessitated this decision. The COVID-19 virus is a novel virus and because of that, there is no immunity in the community. It appears that it is very contagious. It is spread through droplets from infected persons and contact with contaminated surfaces. Moreover, infected persons may be asymptomatic and well, yet still contagious. In Malaysia, the number of confirmed cases has increased exponentially in the recent week. The lesson we have learned from the experience of the different countries in dealing with this pandemic is that social distancing is vital and necessary to the control of its spread.
That would mean taking the difficult decision to avoid close contact with large groups of people. This is the rationale behind the government's ban on mass gatherings of more than 250 persons, a directive which we feel the church should comply with willingly and voluntarily for the good of the community.
While it is true that the mortality rate is not very high, we feel that it is socially responsible for the church to stop gathering for the time being. If anyone is infected in the church, it could mean that the person may unwittingly spread the infection to his/her family and workmates. We are especially concerned for the elderly and the young children in our congregation who may be more susceptible to serious complications.
It is not our intention to create fear and panic, but we wish to take preventive action for the good of our congregation and the community. Our trust is in God to keep and protect us, and we believe that He has given us the responsibility to do what is best in the present situation.
May our faith grow stronger during this period of Lent as we face uncertain times ahead knowing that our Lord has shown the example by the way He faced suffering and the cross.
We appeal for your understanding and solidarity in this decision that we have made. We will keep you updated on the situation in the weeks ahead. Do check our church website (https://www.emmanuel-efc.org) and Facebook for additional announcements on this. Our sermons are recorded and available online but will require permission (we plan to upload our sermons even when the Sunday Service is not able to meet). You may request access from the Pastoral Team: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Continue to trust in Christ and pray for our world, nation and church as we face this pandemic.
May the grace of God be with us all.
Dr Chew Poy Hoe
Chairman, Emmanuel EFC