Goodbye computer screens: Christians celebrate Easter Sunday in person after 2 years of Covid-19 curbs

The congregation celebrating Easter Sunday at the Church of Saint Alphonsus, on April 17, 2022.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - For the past two years, Mrs Jasmine Wing and her husband celebrated Easter Sunday through a computer screen via their church's online services.

But on Sunday (April 17), the couple marked Easter with 950 fellow congregants at the Church of Saint Alphonsus.

Speaking to The Straits Times at the church in Thomson Road, the project executive said: "It is a joy to be back to celebrate Easter with everyone. Words cannot quite express how excited we feel."

Mrs Wing, 58, and her husband Gabriel, 62, have been attending the church for more than four years.

She added: "It feels safe to be worshipping at in-person services despite the pandemic. The crowds at the church are managed well, so we know we are in good hands."

When The Straits Times visited the church during its 10am mass, around 750 congregants were inside, with another 200 seated outdoors watching a live stream of the mass.

A queue of more than 50 people was seen outside the church at about 9.30am, ahead of the 10am mass.

A spokesman for the church said more volunteers were deployed this weekend to help facilitate SafeEntry check-ins and to ensure mask wearing in its compound.

With the easing of Covid-19 rules on religious services here, those attending mass are no longer limited to visiting a single church. The singing of hymns has also resumed. Events with 1,000 people or fewer can also proceed without being subject to any capacity limit.

At Wesley Methodist Church in Fort Canning Road, Mrs Tan Geok Cheng, 56, said she felt comforted to finally be able to mark Easter Sunday in church.

Mrs Tan, a housewife, has been attending church services with her husband for 37 years. The couple celebrated Easter through services conducted online last year and in 2020.

She said: "It feels wonderful to finally celebrate Easter in this manner. It is so timely that restrictions were eased just before Easter, which is such a significant event for Christians."

The congregation at Wesley Methodist Church in Fort Canning Road, on April 17, 2022.  PHOTO: The Straits Times

The church was almost at full capacity during its 8.30am service. The worshippers wore masks and kept their distance from others as they entered the church even though safe distancing is no longer mandated.

Bishop Gordon Wong, who was preaching at Wesley Methodist Church, said: "I am happy to see people back in church. For the past two years, services have been held largely online. So it is good that the easing of Covid-19 rules on religious services came so close to Easter."

At the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd in Queen Street, around 400 congregants were at its 10.30am mass. The catherdral also held an 8.30am mass and will hold another at 6pm.

The congregation at Cathedral of the Good Shepherd in Queen Street, on April 17, 2022. PHOTO: The Straits Times

At Heart of God Church, a youth church in Eunos, its spokesman said the capacity for its Sunday service at 1.30pm was filled. She added that its volunteers carry out regular disinfection of the premises and ensure masks are worn at all times.

Student Ariana Chiam, 15, told ST: "When I joined Heart of God Church in 2020, services were fully online. This Easter, it feels awesome to experience the buzz, atmosphere of faith and be able to see my friends face to face."

Christians at Heart of God Church in Eunos, on April 17, 2022. PHOTO: Heart of God Church

This article was first published in The Straits TimesPermission required for reproduction.