Two churches reflect on COVID-19
The Pentecostal and Charismatic Forum convened by CTE brings together 23 (of our 50) Member Churches. Many of these churches contributed to our earlier piece on Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches and Covid-19.
Here two of the churches represented in the Forum share short reflections on the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on their congregations...
Unification Council of Cherubim + Seraphim Churches (Europe Chapter)
From Sp Apostle and Vice Chair, James Ayanda
The pandemic storm, otherwise christened as COVID-19, has become a beacon allowed by God [John 3: 27] to shake the whole world. An opportunity to review and re-evaluate our personal relationship with God who had created us for His pleasure. Giving us this great second opportunity, we must make the most of it! This incident has exposed the too wide gap between the poor and rich classes in the society; the fragility of each national economy, and the need to further preach/practice the love, sharing, giving, caring and readiness for the second coming of our Lord Jesus. The Beatitudes - supreme blessedness - the blessings listed by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:3–11) are indeed relevant herewith.
Challenges faced by our churches:
1. Persuading some landlords to consider granting rent holiday for the period of the lockdown.
2. Physical face-to-face counselling missed, which has greater effectiveness than virtual counselling.
3. Weekly income fell by at least 80%.
4. Usual physical attendance of marriages, burials and the like were stopped.
5. Usual annual anniversaries of Bands and Churches could not take place due to the lockdown.
6. Church premises could not be utilized for usual operations such as meetings, services and local community activities.
Significant opportunities emerging for our churches:
a. The use of the Zoom platform for our services and meetings might be an opportunity to cut down unnecessary rent wastages in the future.
b. That platform makes it easier to evangelize online through our services.
c. We utilized the lockdown to do greater charity in caring and in giving to others, better than before.
Council of African and Caribbean Churches UK
From Superior Evangelist Sam Nejo on behalf of the Celestial Church of Christ, Elephant and Castle Branch
The Ministers take it in turns every Sunday, with one person conducting the whole Service which is live and virtual, reaching all other members. They have about three hundred members. The Service is on our YouTube channel.
The Elders meet once a week virtually, to plan how needy members are helped and supported either monthly or weekly.
They have three divisions of needy people:
Non-citizens, therefore having no source of income and not entitled to benefits. They are given a little money for basic food.
Poor families - some elderly and house-bound, some families with children but having difficulties. A certain amount of money is allotted to them on regular bases.
Elderly, sick, or anyone hospitalised for any reason at all, whether for Covid-19 or for any other reason, They are checked upon and given support until they are discharged and the care continues. This is done for people who are alone and have no one to care for them. Financial support is also given to them.
While the Elders decide on who is qualified and what help can be given, the church have welfare officers who are in charge of making sure the care and help reaches the one it is intended for.
There are serious worries over the two metre distancing after the lockdown.
Also worries over the elderly not being allowed to come to church on Sundays.
Our finances are also going down, due to not having regular Sunday Services.
We also suffered the death of our Church Leader, who at the time of writing was yet to be buried.