The Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has posed significant challenges for churches as well. All churches had to temporarily suspend their activities, and find new ways of reaching out to congregations, and the most vulnerable.
In many cases, churches expanded existing worship to online networks or established new services online using different forms of social media, websites, TV and radio. Several churches reported the positive effects of ‘going online’ as an opportunity for creativity and the ability to reach audiences outside of the usual physical gatherings.
Others, however, have reported that a lack of internet connectivity, electricity, online services and smartphones created a disconnect from their congregations. Congregants in some regions are unable to afford internet or mobile phone service because money is now needed for food due to prolonged lockdowns.
With mandated physical distancing, clergy found it challenging to remain in contact with the elderly and people living in remote and rural areas.
The impact in many places already is changing the face of the church and the congregations forever. In the event that the country is going to reopen post-COVID-19, and that includes houses of worship, if you think we’ll all rush back to church and pick up where we left off, you’d be so kidding yourself.
It’s not going to happen. Or at least it shouldn’t happen. I, for one, already have myriad of questions whirling in my mind that range from the way we will worship then, how we will conduct liturgy and the overall running of the church.
In an audio that surfaced over the last weekend, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe cleric and Secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC), Reverend Dr. Kenneth Mtata speaks of five questions for the church in the post-Covid-19 period.
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