SINGAPORE- Most of those who go to the popular Novena Church for Sunday mass will have to switch churches temporarily when it closes for rebuilding in October next year.
This is because Saint Joseph's Institution (SJI) Junior School's hall, where interim services will be held, is not big enough for the usual 8,000-strong Sunday congregation, said Rector Simon Tan.
The school hall, with a capacity of about 500, can fit about 1,500 people over three services. That means about eight in 10 people will have to find new places to worship on Sunday.
Novena Church, which was gazetted for conservation by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in 2011, is going ahead with its redevelopment despite raising just two-thirds of its building fund target of $45 million.
This is due to worries that costs might rise further in future.
The church draws about 40,000 people a week to its daily sessions, with many often having to stand in the verandah.
For the two to three years that the 700-seat church is being rebuilt, weekday lunchtime mass and the weekly Novena devotional services will be held at the Church of the Risen Christ in Toa Payoh, which can seat about 1,200.
Regular mass will continue to be held at Novena Church till September next year. When completed, the new church will seat about 2,000.