Preaching sermons to pews: Impact of Covid-19 on the church 1 year on

Prayers were said from every part of the country. A nationwide fast was even declared against the deadly virus entering Ghana.

Well, man proposes, but God disposes. In no time, the unexpected happened. We recorded our first two cases. The two were

from Norway and Turkey.

This was March 12, 2020. It is exactly one year when this happened.

The virus spread faster in congested areas and especially where there were mass gatherings. The country therefore needed to be lockdown to contain the spread of the virus. This triggered a national debate.

According to the General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church, Dr Mensa Otabil, a shutdown of the public transportation system could curb the spread of the virus.

In no time, the science and data then, got President Akufo-Addo convinced to do what he wished he would not do; lock the country down.He had to lock down parts of Ghana and place restrictions on all social gatherings including religious activities to stop the spread of the virus.

The announcement of the ban was met with mixed feelings.

Churches had to quickly restrategise and come up with ways they could still connect with their congregants.

A shift from in-person to online services was the best option. This, many described as “a disruption in the practice of religion”.

For several weeks, churches remained closed. Pastors couldn’t see their members. Covid-19 had suddenly erected a barrier between them and their members.

Bishop Agyin Asare of Perez chapel Int’l talks about the impact of Covid-19 on his church.

This unleashed a serious financial burden on the churches. It appeared, “no in-person worship, no offertory. Coffers of some churches started getting depleted. Some had to devise ways of getting members to at least send in their offerings and tithes.

Reverend Sam Korankye Ankrah and Bishop Agyin Asare speak about how churches struggled.

Others displayed Mobile Money (MoMo) numbers on television screens and Facebook as they shared the Word of God for offerings, seed sowing and tithes, but, some pastors complained it was not effective.

On March 19, President Akufo-Addo met with the clergy to seek God’s intervention and direction in the fight against Covid-19.

In April, Ghana’s religious leaders also declared three days of national prayer and fasting to intercede for the nation and we here at Joy FM, had the privilege of hosting Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams in our studio.

Finally, the President eased restrictions on some public gatherings and the church was allowed to hold services for not more than 100 people for an hour in each service.

Pastors at least heaved a sigh of relief at this breakthrough although not what they really wanted. Children were discouraged from attending church services in order not to contract the virus.

People observed the protocols religiously. The 2020 election season however got many to forget about the protocols. The Christmas season further worsened it.

There was a sudden upsurge in our active cases. Hospitals started getting full and our death toll started rising.

This unfortunate development didn’t deter the President from reopening all schools from kindergarten to Tertiary level. Ghanaians reacted.

The arrival of the vaccines seems to be normalising things now. People now have the confidence to go to work. Yet, some churches are yet to resume normal face-to-face church services. Maker’s House Chapel is one of such churches and Dr Boadi Nyamekye leads the church.

Continue to observe all the Covid-19 protocols and stay safe. We leave you with prayers from the Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams

by Joy News

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