By S. Harrish
SARAWAK Christians have been told to be resilient in carrying out their mission to love and serve mankind amid the Covid-19 pandemic and the challenges that come with living in the new normal.
Bishop of the Anglican diocese of Kuching and Brunei Rt Rev Datuk Danald Jute and Catholic Archbishop of the diocese of Kuching Rt Rev Simon Poh made the call in their Easter Day messages.
Speaking to The Vibes, Danald said the Church is not a building, but an assembly of God’s people.
“Thankfully, modern digital technology and social media allow us to continue to come together virtually.
“So, it is still possible to be ‘ever present’ as Church during physical lockdowns and when the authorities deem it fit to restrict human movement and activities.
“It does not matter in what way we come together, physically or virtually. We can be ever present as Church.
“We can worship and hold meetings, even train, teach and heal. It is not a perfect alternative, but it is helpful in keeping the Church present to the human situation and circumstances.”
Danald said gathering, meeting, being in fellowship with each other, and being in each other’s presence are all an essential part of being Church, but the pandemic has forced people to be apart from one another.
“More so during this Holy Week season, a time when churches are filled with members for the various services, most of which involve a greater deal of interaction and participation, such as Palm Sunday, and the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday and on Easter, which are usually celebrated with joyful singing and processions and parties for children. I miss all these.”
Meanwhile, Poh said though churches may not be operating in the usual way, especially during the Holy Week season, he is grateful that the Unit for Other Religions in the Chief Minister’s Office (Unifor) has given special concessions to Catholic churches in red and orange zones to be opened for the Holy Week services of Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Good Friday, as well as Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.
“You may be with your own family in your own house, but know that you are not alone when you pray online. Thousands of Catholics will be praying in solidarity with you.
“So, during this time when physical attendance is not possible, let us be in solidarity and in spirit to pray together as one family of Church calling upon the same God.”