Latest Updates

  • In view of escalating unlinked cases, we encourage Covenant Groups and mentoring groups to meet via online platforms for the time being. This advisory for small group gatherings will be reviewed regularly as the situation evolves.
  • All services including English, Mandarin & Dialect, Indonesian and Filipino fellowships, will be suspended till 30 April. This will be reviewed in light of the developing situation. All TNG services continue to be suspended, with Youth CGs will be meeting over online platform.
  • English livestreaming services on Sunday will be 9.15am ONLY. Click on http://cefc.ch/live to join us. Full 9.15am livestream will be again available from 10.15am onwards till Wednesday.

Pastoral Heartbeat

Pastoral Reflections and Statement

2 April Pastoral Statement

In the past two months since we went to DORSCON Orange, and the three weeks since we suspended church services, what we have experienced together is all very new to us. It is a whole new level of uncertainty and constant change that we have had to cope with, as a nation and as a church.

In view of the sharply escalating number of unlinked cases in Singapore, and not just the imported cases, we are encouraging our CGs and MGs to meet over online platforms instead of face-to-face for the time being. Our church family’s health and well-being is important to us. We also believe that this will go some way in containing the spike of infections in Singapore. This advisory for small group gatherings will be reviewed regularly as the situation evolves.

Coping with this crisis has been very challenging for all of us. In our workplace, tensions with the economy coming almost to a standstill is very worrying. Job losses are real. Parents experienced this week what it’s like to have to teach their children from home – it’s really not that easy. News reports have been coming out that tensions are rising in the family as countries around the world go into lockdown.

Church-wise we have had to cope to meeting each other in different forms. Meeting online is something we are not used to – it can lead to us also feeling a sense of greater isolation from each other. So we need to keep these relationships going by encouraging one another and keep pointing each other back to God. This is also something challenging for us as a church community to navigate together.

As we look to Good Friday and Easter next week, we have to remember first and foremost, what is the foundation of our faith. We are a spiritual family to whom Christ gave his life – the Body of Christ deeply connected to one another. Let’s hold fast to God, and to each other — praying for and encouraging each other in this time.

 

Rev Tan Kay Kiong and Rev Tony Yeo
Senior Pastors
Covenant Evangelical Free Church

27 March Pastoral Statement

Disruption. This word describes this past week.

With the announcement of the various closures and the enhanced containment measures, the normality of our lives feel disrupted. But while church services are suspended, the Church is not.

With the church services suspended till 30 April, our Sunday English livestream service will be at 9.15am only. Click on http://cefc.ch/live to access the livestream. Playback of the livestream will be available from 10.15am onwards till 3.00pm.

So in this season, what keeps us going? Relationships! When we continue to deepen our relationships with God and with each other – that is what keeps us connected as a spiritual family. 

With many having to work from home, this Covid season means you will be spending more time with your family than ever before. Take time to have a real conversation with your spouse. Look for teachable moments with your children. Spend a bit of extra time with your elderly parents and grandparents who may be feeling more anxious in this season.

In a time of increasing isolation, persevere in deepening fellowship with each other. Our CGs will have to meet in smaller sub-groups (not exceeding 10) this season. For those who prefer not to meet face-to-face, we encourage you to start using technology like Zoom to keep up the connectedness, even if it is a short 45-minute sharing and prayer time. Pick up the phone to pray for one another. Share what God has been speaking in your daily devotions.

Finally, we encourage you to deepen your personal relationship with God. The words of 2 Chronicles 15:4 is a deep assurance of God’s Presence in such times. “In their distress they turned to the Lord and sought him, he was found by them.” All the more in such times, make knowing Him and drawing near to Him fully in His Word, with prayer and fasting, as your pursuit.

Rev Tan Kay Kiong and Rev Tony Yeo
Senior Pastors
Covenant Evangelical Free Church

20 Mar Pastoral Statement

As shepherds of God’s flock, we have been prayerfully considering the situation and wrestling with difficult tensions to hold. As part of the larger community in Singapore, we seek to be a blessing in this nation. 

The Government has been in constant contact with the church leadership of Singapore. Following recent developments, they have encouraged churches to find ways to support enhanced measures that are put in place to help stem the spread of Covid-19 in the community. Therefore the CEFC leadership has decided that we will suspend all services for two weeks (21-22 and 28-29 March). We will review the developing situation and look forward to resuming services thereafter with enhanced precautionary measures.  

Please join us in our Sunday livestream services at 9.15am and 11.15am. Click on http://cefc.ch/live to access the livestream. There will be no physical services. 

For small gatherings, Youth CGs in church premises are temporarily suspendedCovenant Groups can continue with enhanced travel precautionary measures. Please click on http://cefc.ch/covid19 to access the full list of precautionary measures on our Church Advisory. 

Targeted measures like this help us navigate the spikes of the pandemic over the long haul. Our highly interconnected nation is feeling the effects from the global situation. We are all in this together.  

We, being part of the local community, must come together to help one another through this. Just this week, we opened up Woodlands Centre to house some Malaysian workers stranded by the lockdown. Within hours of requesting contributions, Covenanters rose to the occasion to bless total strangers in need. Practical acts of love in this season speak volumes. 

Let us also encourage each other in our discipleship this season. Pick up the phone to pray with a brother or sister in Christ. Send an encouraging text from your devotional journal. In your Covenant Groups, we encourage you to keep it going. Join in via video-conference for those members who cannot be present. In these isolating times, all the more we need to build deeper connections with each other.  

On Sundays, come together in CGs or smaller groups to participate in the worship, the Word, the offering and the prayer times during the livestreaming services. After that, you can also use the TNG discipleship resources at http://cefc.ch/tng for your children together. Let’s help each other to disciple our children! 

The truth of Psalm 46 are a deep comfort in times like these: 

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Ps 46:1 

Let us continue to trust in God who is absolutely sovereign over all.  

Rev Tony Yeo and Rev Tan Kay Kiong
Senior Pastors
Covenant Evangelical Free Church 

13 Mar Pastoral Statement 

As this week’s events unfolded across the world stage, many of us in Singapore felt a sense of déjà vu. After all, it was only five weeks ago that Singapore was one of the first and hardesthit nations outside of China. 

What have we learned in the past five weeks since then? We have learned that taking personal responsibility for our own hygiene and social distancing when ill are the most critical factors for flattening the spike of infections. We have learned that precautionary measures do mitigate the risks in order not to overwhelm the healthcare system. We have learned that all these measures need to be cradled by implicit trust in the authorities. We have come a long way indeed. Yet, since the pandemic appears to be here for the longer term, as a church, we need to learn how to ride out the inevitable peaks and troughs of this pandemic in order to better sustain life as a spiritual family. 

Many of you have heard the PM’s message on Thursday night. We are taking the situation very seriously and will be implementing further precautionary measures as advised to reduce crowding and increase ventilation. To allow for more social distancing between seats, we will be opening up more areas for congregants to spread out within the sanctuary. For our Youth CGs resuming this week, they will be meeting in ventilated areas or in spaces with fewer than 20 pax per room. 

For the next 14 days, in order to protect our vulnerable groups, the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions such as high blood pressure and lung conditions, are advised to stay home and worship together with us through our livestreaming. Our Mandarin and Dialect ministries which have a high proportion of elderly, will also be suspended as soon as practicable for 14 days. Therefore, the Mandarin and Dialect services will be suspended for two weeks on 21-22 and 28-29 March 2020. 

What can we do when our lives are disrupted? Let’s find creative ways to continue community life! If you’re finding that having discipleship conversations on your own a little challenging, arrange to meet up with another family and disciple the kids together. Some are already doing this as Covenant Groups very successfully! Click on http://cefc.ch/tng to access the discipleship resources. People are not giving up meeting in Covenant Groups – some are still going out to BLESS others very intentionally. That’s Greater Discipleship! 

A discipleship journey is never a solo journey. In times of crisis, this holds true even more. As a spiritual family, let us press on together towards what God has called us to – Greater Discipleship in times like this! 

Rev Tan Kay Kiong & Rev Tony Yeo
Senior Pastors
Covenant Evangelical Free Church

Northern Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan. As the repercussions of the coronavirus situation is felt around the world, the possibility of a long-term outbreak is becoming more and more real. Yet, life has to go on. We see different sectors learning to cope with this crisis. With business continuity plans in place, workplaces are adapting to different work arrangements. Events that have been postponed are slowly coming back. The Catholic Church in Singapore will also be resuming their mass services next week. As a nation, we have grown in learning to adapt to this challenge. Even our Covenant Groups have learnt to video-conference into CG meetings if they are unwell or from a different centre. We have proven to be resilient and resourceful!

One major area of challenge has been for our children and youth. Across the world, the United Nations has estimated that nearly 290M children are facing school disruptions as a result of Covid-19. Many have been compelled to move their learning to home and online.

The TNG Ministry has been working hard to produce video and teaching resources for family discipleship at home this season. About 30% of our families have been consistently using these resources to disciple their children on Sundays. Some are participating in the livestream service as families, others are using the weekly family devotional in our Devotional Journal. We are so encouraged to hear many stories of Covenanters rising up to take ownership of family discipleship – teach them about Jesus’ love and what it means to spread God’s love practically to their friends and neighbours. Keep at it!

The TNG Ministry is a critical part of this important village to bring our children up in the ways of God. When the TNG services were closed for the past three weeks, we really missed the life and vibrancy of having the children and youths around. So on their own initiative, a number of adults and youths decided to meet last Saturday to write and send out 1,000 “Miss You” cards to our preschool and lower primary kids – to tell them that we missed them and to encourage them to press on to know Jesus through our TNG resources on the website.

With all the precautionary measures being taken, we are working towards having our youths back with us on Sundays from 15 March onwards in the form of Youth CGs. We are keeping a close eye on the evolving situation and will continue to balance faith and prudence in our decisions to progressively reopen TNG services.

As Ps Kai wrote in his heartbeat “Can Anything Good Come Out of This?” last week, we deeply believe that much good, much discipleship, much disciplemaking can come out of this situation. Let us have eyes to see the opportunities to be salt and light, and the faith to live for what really matters!

 

Rev Tan Kay Kiong & Rev Tony Yeo 
Senior Pastors 
Covenant Evangelical Free Church 

All are from the dust, and to dust all return. Ecc 3:20, ESV.

These are words traditionally spoken at Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a 40-day season of preparation (excluding Sundays) leading up to Easter. While the word Lent is not mentioned in the Bible, the spiritual practices of Lent of fasting, repentance and prayer bring us to deeper awareness of our spiritual condition. They prepare our hearts for even closer intimacy with our Lord Jesus as we remember His death and resurrection.

So Lent is like a divine pause. A time to pause to consider and reflect on our humanity – mortal, broken, sinful and in desperate need of a Saviour. Similarly, the Covid-19 situation is also like a divine pause – a pause in our frantic, hyper-scheduled lives and a pause in our highly competitive and anxious society to grapple with the deeper things in life.

Three Ways Covid-19 is a divine pause for Greater Discipleship:

  1. A Divine Pause to confront our mortality
    Without the spectre of a global pandemic, most of us go through life without much thought of our own mortality. In fact, the locus of our lives tend to be centred on the here-and-now instead of the greater spiritual reality of eternity. Let us remember that all that He has given to us here on earth is for us to steward for a season only.
  2. A Divine Pause to test our foundations
    The news of a confirmed case in an educational institution hits close to home for parents. The fears are real and very human. But fears can also reveal to where the foundations of our faith lie. Do we truly believe in the sovereignty of God even in the midst of dire situations? Let us allow the Holy Spirit to examine the source of our fears.
  3. A Divine Pause to evaluate our purpose
    When life is normal, business goes on as usual. But when life is unusual, it compels us to contend with the larger questions of meaning and purpose. It compels us to reckon with what we are truly called to do here on earth – to go forth and make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:18-20). Let us see the tremendous opportunities in this Covid-19 season to proclaim the light and hope of our Gospel.

Here is a story from Nelson Tan, our Board member, about his experience leading a Marketplace Alpha group this week:

“In the group that I was facilitating, there were four non-Christians and one new believer. As I was asking them this question on what made them decide to come that day, one of them replied:

‘It was Covid-19! When I looked at Eventbrite, all the events were cancelled in Singapore except for this Alpha. I wondered to myself, there must be something special about this Alpha group that still chose to continue. Hence, I’ve got no other choice but to come and check it out.’”

May this season of Divine Pause lead you towards a higher view of God, a deeper love for others, and a greater discipleship in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Rev Tan Kay Kiong
Senior Pastor
Covenant Evangelical Free Church

As a nation, Singapore is grappling with the reality of Covid-19. On a community healthcare front, all measures are being taken to contain the spread. As a church, our social responsibility is also to play our part by implementing appropriate measures to protect our vulnerable groups and to mitigate the risks as best we can.

All English and Mandarin adult services will continue in their usual timings and venues. 9.15am Bukit Panjang service will be fully live streamed. You can access this web link (http://cefc.ch/bpjlive) from 9.10am to participate in the entire service live.

The BPJ pre-recorded video sermon will be made on our CEFC app and Facebook page from 11am onwards. WDL & East pre-recorded video sermons will be made available on our CEFC app and Facebook page from 1pm onwards.

Our TNG family discipleship resources continue to be available at cefc.ch/tng for Preschool, Lower Primary, Upper Primary and Youth services. We are encouraged to hear so many stories of parents taking family disciplemaking to the next level.

Yet, despite all these measures, the emotional reality of fear is real. How should we as a community grapple with fear? Perhaps we should take a step back to see the larger picture.

This reflection that I recently read gripped me. It is a translated article from a Christian in China.

Don’t Waste This Epidemic

  1. If you do not believe that the epidemic is allowed by God, you will waste the epidemic.
  2. If you only rely on outside protection instead of seeking comfort from God, you will waste this epidemic.
  3. If you refuse to consider death, you will waste this epidemic.
  4. If you only want the epidemic to stop as soon as possible, but just to live a normal life without seeking to understand God ’s will and cherish Christ more, you will waste the epidemic.
  5. If you spend too much time reading the information about the epidemic, but you don’t have enough time to read the Word of God, you will waste the epidemic.
  6. If you treat your sin as casually as before, you will waste this epidemic.
  7. If you do not make good use of this epidemic and make it an opportunity to witness to the true and glorious Christ, you are wasting this epidemic.

2020 is our year of Greater Discipleship. As we look forward to hearing God’s Word together this Sunday as a church community, may God grant you eyes to see these circumstances through new eyes of faith.

Live for what really matters. Be salt and light.

Rev Tan Kay Kiong
Senior Pastor
Covenant Evangelical Free Church

We began the year with our 2020 spiritual burden – Towards Greater Discipleship! What then does Greater Discipleship look like in the light of current circumstances? Everything in our life seems to be dictated by a very tiny virus (COVID-19) which cannot even be seen by the naked eyes. Surely, we need to be careful and cautious but not overly paranoid and worried. In the words of our Leadership Mentor Rev Edmund Chan in his article in Salt & Light, “Being worried and being careful are two entirely different things. There is no use worrying. However, there is a responsibility (and wisdom!) to be careful.” The medical evidence suggests that COVID-19 is perhaps more infectious than SARS, with a mortality rate of 2% at the epicentre of Wuhan and 0.2% outside of China.         

There are certainly concerns over the increased local transmission and the larger church circumstances in Singapore. We are keeping a close watch on government advisories and their overall strategy to contain the spread. Hence, we have introduced video transmission of our sermon at 10am last Sunday for Covenanters who cannot be physically present to still be included in our continuing worship of God as a community. All other non-essential meetings and training in the next two weeks have either been postponed or will be conducted via e-platforms. Covenant Groups can continue to meet as decided by the group leader and members. That which is important to our faith and life should continue in other creative forms while we remain vigilant. Some groups had prayer meetings via video-conferencing, others broke into smaller sub-groups for prayer and fellowship together. Let the mutual encouragement from community life continue!

We are deeply committed to the wellbeing of Covenanters, especially to protect the vulnerable groups. As such we have temporarily suspended services for our TNG. We encourage all our parents to take this opportunity to lead the family spiritually.  We have stepped up even greater precautionary measures to maintain our vigilance. (Please see our latest church advisory dated 14 Feb 2020). These are unprecedented times and we want to do that which is glorifying to God. While some decisions may differ from others, it is God-glorifying to remain in a posture of mutual grace and acceptance. Our decisions have been considered lovingly, prayerfully and prudently.

As a community of faith, we look to God’s wisdom and discernment to guide us in these times. In a climate of uncertainty and fear, the eternal hope and foundation of our lives is in our Lord Jesus Christ. We affirm His sovereignty over our lives, over Covenant, over Singapore and over the nations. May we go forth as carriers of the gospel also to resound as voices of hope, compassion and peace.

Rev Tan Kay Kiong
Senior Pastor
Covenant Evangelical Free Church

Church Advisory

Church Services and Events

  • All services including English, Mandarin & Dialect, Indonesian and Filipino fellowships, will be suspended till 30 April. This will be reviewed in light of the developing situation. All TNG services continue to be suspended, with Youth CGs will be meeting over online platform.
  • English livestreaming services on Sunday will be 9.15am ONLY. Click on http://cefc.ch/live to join us. Full 9.15am livestream will be again available from 10.15am onwards till 3.00pm.
  • All TNG services continue to be suspended, with Youth CGs will be meeting over online platform.
  • In view of escalating unlinked cases, we encourage Covenant Groups and mentoring groups to meet via online platforms for the time being. This advisory for small group gatherings will be reviewed regularly as the situation evolves.

Precautionary Measures

  • All persons with recent travel history, including day trips, will be required to be on a leave of absence from church services and church-related gatherings for 14 days from the day of their return.
  • All persons in close contact with people on quarantine, Stay-Home-Notice, or recent travellers are also advised to take a leave of absence for 14 days from church services and church-related gatherings.
  • All persons in vulnerable groups, like the seniors and those with pre-existing conditions, are advised to stay home and refrain from church-related gatherings.

Do Stay at Home if You

  • Have recent travel history from 14 March onwards. Please take a leave of absence from church-related gatherings for 14 days from the day of your return.
  • Have close contact with people on quarantine, Stay-Home-Notice, or recent travellers.
  • Have any respiratory symptoms of cough, runny nose, sore throat, headache, fever.

Precautionary Measures Taken

We have implemented the following precautionary measures to ensure that we do our part in preventing the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Service Precautions

  • To minimise cross-centre exposure, we would like to encourage Covenanters to attend their regular service in their regular worship centres and not cross to other services and centres
  • 100% temperature taking at all services. We will be asking anyone with flu-like symptoms to refrain from entering the premises.
  • Recording of hall seating arrangements during services to facilitate contact tracing purposes.
  • Health declaration and providing of contact information at entry to each service to facilitate contact tracing purposes.

Updates on smaller-scale training events and meetings

  • All other non-essential meetings, events and training in the next two weeks have either been postponed or will be conducted via e-platforms.

Increased Hygiene Practices

  • The frequency of cleaning of commonly used areas at our worship centres, such as toilets, dining areas, information booth counters and TNG registration counters have been increased.

Updates on Events

  • March Men’s, Women’s, Marriage Breakthrough Weekends
  • District Leaders’ Touchdown
    21 Feb 2020 (Fri), 8pm-10pm
    Some districts may continue on an online platform. You will be informed by your district mentors.
  • CGL training Cohort 14 (22nd Feb to 23 May)
    The CGL training for Cohort 14 has been cancelled. The next cohort will start in July 2020. More details will be published at a later date.
  • Alpha (12 Mar – 21 May)
    Look out for the next run starting 2 July – 10 Sep.
  • Discovery Weekend (15 Feb)
  • SGI Leaders’ Orientation @ BPJ
    16 Feb 2020 (Sun), 2pm-4pm
    This meeting has been postponed and replaced by a Zoom conference call meeting, that will be held NEXT SUNDAY, 23 Feb 2020, 2pm-4pm.

29 Feb 2020 (Sat), 8am-12pm
This has been cancelled and replaced with a Special CG Prayer and Praise, and will be held on 28 Feb 2020 (Fri) or any other day that your CG usually meets for that week. This special CG P&P is called so that, as a church, we may respond in faith, not fear, to the COVID-19 virus situation. We will be hearing our SP’s heartbeat (via video), and in our CGs, we will rise up in prayer for ourselves, our church, our nation and the world.

  • Intentional Discipleship Training
    All IDT Sessions over the next 4 weeks will be conducted via videos and online group discussions. The Course Leaders will be giving detailed instructions directly to the participants in the two respective batches.

Covenant Faith

stories and reflections of grace, growth and godliness