The Church of True Light entrance looked unusually quiet. For a moment I thought the church was closed. Oops, I was looking at the wrong doors. Two women were there at the front desk. One greeted me and asked for my name. I said, I am the guest preacher for the English congregation. She checked my temperature, and briskly showed me to the lift.
The worship hall was a welcome sight. They had done modest renovations and the place looked more conducive than before. Later, I found that I sounded good over the microphone. They must have upgraded the PA system too. Wonderful.
A tall, tan Anglican priest with silvered hair welcomed me, and I suddenly felt more at home. I have known Revd Vincent Hoon for close to two decades. We met as strangers put together to share a room in a Love Singapore Pastors Prayer Summit ages ago. We have since become prayer partners through thick and thin; fellow-pilgrims and fellow-servants in the Lord’s vineyard.
I met with their new vicar, Revd Barry, formerly from Marine Parade Anglican Church. He was newly posted to this church. This means he must be effectively bi-lingual. Later, at the end of the service, they showed a superbly done video introduction of him, and he came off as someone with confident, decisive, humorous and authentic. The former vicar, Revd Winston had retired, and as in any change of leadership, much prayer and patience and grace is needed in order that God’s purposes be fulfilled by His man in that new season the church is in.
With some curiosity, I took a selfie to see how I look like beside the priests there. I look like some lau hero in a movie about containment of some infectious disease. I cannot say I felt like one when it was my turn to mount the stage and take the pulpit. It felt awkward. I chose a lapel mike. The crowd was sparse with thirty plus folks, and a battery of young adults at the end where the equipment for live-streaming and sound control were. Evidently, the Chinese services would be starting physical gatherings soon and were there to learn how to operate the equipment. So speaking to this disparate groups seated apart from each other except for couples felt different. “Are they listening to me?” I asked myself, as I felt a bit of nervousness. “Am I getting through?” As I reached the final third point I panicked because I realised I had missed a whole chunk of explanation in the second point. Since it was live-streamed I needed to keep it concise to 20 – 30 minutes, I had been reminded earlier. “Doesn’t matter…just carry on. The Lord is able to work with mistakes like this. He will make good come out of it.” Sometimes, people feel relief with short sermons. Hope that at least it is the case here.
The service began at 9am and ended at about 10am. Is this the “new normal”?