I was curious about how our neighbouring churches were doing during the covid 19 pandemic. I was familiar with what’s happening in Singapore. But try as I would I could not find much news about what’s happening among Malaysian churches except that 300 churches have applied in June to re-open for worship with all the usual safety measures in place and a maximum of 30 worshippers and for an hour and a half. Surprisingly the Indonesian church is the one with the best information due to a survey done by a research organization. Here are the links I have found pertinent and helpful:
SINGAPORE CHURCHES: https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/christians-rise-of-the-hybrid-physical-and-digital-church THIS is definitely the best article that wraps up where the Singapore church is in terms of external response to Covid 19. It covers the rise of the “hybrid physical and digital church”, the generosity of churches in helping the foreign workers and the people hit with financial problems and job losses, and how some churches are resourcing other churches. Good, comprehensive and interesting article.
INDONESIAN CHURCHES: https://asiaevangelicals.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/AEA-Newsletter-202008.pdf THIS ARTICLE written by Dr Babang Budijanto, general secretary of Asia Evangelical Alliance is based on a national survey of 600 pastors in small and big cities in Indonesia done by Bilangan Research Center. Five concerns that the Indonesian churches face are: 1) Lack of capacity for digital engagement; 2) Decline in church revenue; 3) How to meet spiritual needs and give pastoral care; 4) Helping the poor and needy (job loss and health issues); 5) Members switching to another congregation with better online services. One interesting factor worth highlighting is how the presence of youth in the churches increased the church’s digital engagement and social involvement with the poor.