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No Easter conferences for churches

by Staff reporter
31 Mar 2021 at 06:33hrs | Views
CHURCHES will not hold conferences usually held during the Easter period but will resort to virtual meetings with only a limited number of congregants gathering on Sunday.

Church leaders yesterday said Zimbabweans should not lose hope even in the face of Covid-19 challenges as the Easter holiday starts on Friday.

They said as opposed to mass gatherings and conferences, they will be holding virtual Easter gatherings with a limited number of congregants. The church leaders said the church will observe Covid-19 regulations to prevent the spread of infections.

They said Easter is commemorated in remembrance of Jesus' life hence Christians and citizens alike should remain steadfast as every hardship they are facing will come to an end.

Roman Catholic Church (Archdiocese of Bulawayo) Archbishop Alex Thomas said the church is already in the mood for Easter commemorations after marking Palm Sunday. He said due to Covid-19, the church will not hold mass gatherings.

"We are restricting our numbers to 50 people as we follow the Covid-19 protocols laid down by Government. So, we have asked our people to come in small groups. This year's Easter comes in the background of Covid-19 challenges. What we need is new hope and trust in the Lord so that we can overcome the pandemic and return to normal life," he said.

"The resurrection of Jesus is about new life so we want to have a new life after a year of struggle. The past year has been challenging as people have been constrained on worshiping and they have been missing the fellowship. It has also been hard for the church financially. Our life is about hope, Jesus died and he rose again. He conquered death so we also have to conquer every challenge we have. It can be illnesses; it can be financial challenges and social problems; we have to conquer it with the power of God and move forward."

Harvest House International Church Bishop Collins Nyathi said they will hold a physical conference with limited numbers of people. Bishop Nyathi said since the outbreak of Covid-19, the church has been preaching the message of hope.

"The way forward for us is virtual, that is how we are going to conduct our sermons. But on Sunday that is when we are going to have physical attendance but also limiting our numbers to 50 people," said Bishop Nyathi.

"For over a year, our message has been to encourage people that it shall come to pass. And this also shall come to pass. However, Easter is a special day. We remember the cross and the blood. We don't want to dilute Easter because it speaks of the cross and the blood of Jesus. The message to Zimbabweans is that yes, we are in a calamity and calamities come and go. We know it's difficult but we must hold strong as even this shall come to pass."

A comment could not be obtained from the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) which usually holds one of the biggest Easter gatherings in the country. Its focal person Mr Charles Mutendi yesterday afternoon said he was in a meeting and would comment later.

Family Covenant Church's Pastor Polly Sibanda said under normal circumstances the church would have held a conference where congregants from its various branches congregate in one place for Easter service.

Pastor Sibanda said the church has resorted to hold virtual sermons to cater for its congregants. Zimbabwe Council of Churches president Bishop Lazarus Khanye said it was critical for churches to adhere to Government regulations.

"What we want to say is that churches have to adhere to Covid-19 protocols so that we can safeguard members of the public from infections and reinfections. Also, we are also hoping that as members of the public attend church gatherings they stick to the restricted numbers so that in case of any eventualities, we can make follow up on cases to safeguard human life. We also encourage Christians to pray so that this pandemic end," said Bishop Khanye.

"Easter time is a period to remember Jesus's life, so Zimbabweans across the country need to understand Jesus died for the people's wellbeing so we have to learn to live in harmony as Jesus died for us."

At the Salvation Army church in the city centre officials said communication was centralised in Harare, while Seventh Day Adventist Zimbabwe West Union Conference president Pastor Micah Choga said he could not comment as he was in a meeting.

Government has put in place the necessary precautionary measures to curb the recurrence of a spike in Covid-19 during the Easter holiday with security agencies out in full force to ensure that citizens comply with the lockdown regulations.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said security agencies are on high alert to make sure that there will be no gatherings exceeding the 50 people in line with the review of lockdown regulations recently announced by President Mnangagwa.

Source - chroncile