One of Singapore’s latest locally transmitted cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection, Case 41, was a 71-year-old man who visited Paya Lebar Methodist Church (PLMC) at Boundary Road, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said yesterday. Two other new cases were also announced, bringing the total number of infections in Singapore to 43. 

PLMC is the second church in Singapore to have reported a confirmed case in two days. Just the day before, the MOH reported that The Life Church and Missions Singapore had five people who tested positive for 2019-nCoV, making it the third currently known cluster in Singapore. 

Prior to hospital admission on February 7, the 71-year-old who visited PLMC also attended a gathering at Braddell Heights Residents’ Committee and picked up his grandchild outside Pat’s Schoolhouse’s Kovan centre along Upper Serangoon Road, where he lives. 

In announcing the news on its Facebook page eight hours ago, PLMC urged its congregants to come together to pray: “Please pray for God’s wisdom and His Shalom to prevail as we work through this.”

Its accompanying photo also came with this reminder: “Our God is above the virus, and He is in absolute control.”

Source: PLMC’s Facebook page

The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS), which is handling media responses on behalf of PLMC, issued a statement this morning saying that the authorities had not released any other information to the church besides the patient’s age and gender, and that contact tracing is still underway. 

“The MCS has been working closely with MOH immediately after we have been informed and will implement all the necessary measures to ensure that it does not escalate,” a spokesperson said.

It shared that the MCS management team had already been providing guidance to all its churches on operating protocols, with plans being sent to all churches on the measures to be taken for the various DORSCON levels.

Some of these operating protocols for PLMC include:

  • Sealing the premises of the affected church for thorough sanitisation of the premises, to be undertaken following NEA guidelines with any modifications from MOH as instructed.
  • Temperature screening and getting contact details for everyone entering the church. Any person with fever, cough or flu-like symptoms has also not been allowed onto its premises and has been advised to see a GP immediately.
  • The church leadership reminding members to observe good personal hygiene.
  • Closing the Covenant Kindergarten at PLMC for thorough cleaning activities until further notice.
  • Minimising essential meetings.

The MCS represents 46 Methodist churches with over 44,000 members, making it the largest Christian denomination in Singapore. It is currently being led by Bishop Rev Dr Chong Chin Chung, who also encouraged members through a letter and video posted on MCS’ Facebook page.

Bishop Chong said: “I invite all Methodists in Singapore to unite with our brothers and sisters in PLMC to pray for peace of mind and stillness of heart as we trust in His plan. Please remember your pastors and leaders as they labour to maintain a safe environment for all to come to worship God.

“Pray for our brother who has been isolated in the National Centre for Infectious Diseases; may the Lord grant him comfort and strength as he rests and recovers. Keep our healthcare workers in mind as you pray alone, or in twos or threes, that the Lord will grant them wisdom and strength. We pray that members of PLMC will have peace of mind and heart as they continue their ministry to the world.”

Signing off with two verses from Psalm 29 in the Bible, he said:

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace! (Psalm 29:10-11 ESV)

  1. Pray for the quick recovery of our brother in Christ, the 71-year-old grandfather, who has tested positive for the virus. Pray also for those who have come into close contact with him and are quarantined. 
  2. Pray for those who are fearful to have peace of mind and stillness of heart. Pray especially for PLMC members to be able to continue their ministry to the world.
  3. Pray for church pastors and leaders who are doing the best to maintain a safe environment for worshippers.
  4. Pray for healthcare personnel all over Singapore who are working around the clock in response to this outbreak.