Standing up for the church: Tamil Ministry
Tamil Ministry chairman Alpert Anandakumar shares with us his reflections on how the congregation has adapted its activities due to Covid-19.
This is my second epidemic outbreak experience in Singapore. Based on the SARS experience, I had thought Covid-19 would be over in a couple of weeks. As someone who once walked more than one and a half hours to attend a church service, I had never expected that we would be staying home without attending church in person for so many weeks!
After realising that in-person church services would cease for some time, the Tamil Ministry saw the need for an online platform to communicate with our members. With Rev Kenneth Huang’s blessing, we started a Kampong Kapor Methodist Church Tamil Ministry Facebook page. This Facebook page became our primary mode of communication during the Circuit Breaker period, and is still used today to reach out to our members. We also created several Whatsapp groups for members to stay in touch.
Rev. Moses recorded sermons and songs, and our congregation members also took turns to record songs and Bible readings. Our Sunday school kids, youth, women's fellowship and choir also helped record, translate, proof read, and review these videos. As we wanted to constantly connect with our congregation members, we uploaded articles on Tuesdays, prayer videos on Fridays, and sermons/worship on Sundays. Special thanks goes to Pastor Kenneth for his weekly encouraging words, which we published with Tamil subtitles on our YouTube channel, and the team from KKMC for editing and sending the recordings.
Going the extra mile for members
Once in-person DSOP services were allowed, the Tamil Ministry’s Emergency Preparedness team helped ensure that the services followed the restrictions. The team is headed by Brother Pandian, and his team members are Bro. Muthu, Bro. John, Bro. Stanley, Bro. Williams, and Bro. Vethanayagam. There are also a few other congregation members who volunteered to help. We had Zoom meetings to brief them on the expected duties, and everyone performed well.
While some of us may have stayed away from these duties to make sure our services are safe, I was deeply touched by one of our volunteers who said “Anna (elder brother), we shall take turns to handle these activities, so that even if one of us is down with the virus, others could continue to help!” I thank God for blessing the KKMC Tamil Ministry with such wonderful members who are always ready to stand up for our church.
Rev Moses, myself, and a few other leaders also kept in touch with our congregation members from the dormitories. Most of them said that all their needs are met by the government of Singapore. We helped to top up phone cards for some, as they had to stay in quarantine, and helped to deliver food to a member who wanted to eat Indian food. We also encouraged our dormitory members to be in touch with their family in India. Two of our regular worshippers were isolated with symptoms and one of them tested positive for Covid-19. We encouraged both through phone calls and WhatsApp; both have since recovered – God is good!
Through our Outreach Ministry, we also provided groceries to one of our aged sisters, Madam Devi, a regular worshipper who is staying alone. We are also constantly in touch with many of our church members who are working in the healthcare sector, and checking if they need additional support. Even during this difficult period, some of our congregation members came forward to support towards KKMC’s Feed the Community program.
During this pandemic, our Tamil Ministry grew stronger as a community, showed care for each other and drew closer to God. I am reminded of Psalm 9:9-10: “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” I am glad that God’s mighty hand is at work in getting us back to normal life, and may God continue to grant us the grace to say with the Psalmist, “I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the LORD.” (Psalm 122:1)