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Alba Iulia
Sunday, November 29, 2020

Covid-19 splits Churches: Controversy erupts over reopening of Churches

Headlines Covid-19 splits Churches: Controversy erupts over reopening of Churches

Several Churches have taken different positions to President Edgar Lungu’s direction that places of worship may reopen in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak.

Hours after President Lungu’s national address, Bread of Life Church International quickly announced that it will go ahead and have a norm service this Sunday whilst adhering to hygiene practices and social distancing.

However, many traditional Churches such as the Seventh Day Adventist Church, the Catholic Church and Anglicans have told their members not to congregate.

Even Muslims in Lusaka through the Lusaka Muslim Society have said Mosques under its jurisdiction shall remain closed until “a clear guideline is given by the authorities”.

President Lungu said churches, saloons and barbershops would be allowed to operate subject to high compliance levels of Covid prevention measures.

He also said sporting activities like golf and tennis which do not require close contact would also be allowed to take place.

But his directive to Churches has been ignored with the many Churches telling their members not to congregate.

In a message to Adventist members, Union President, Dr H. Akombwa said the Church will wait for further guidance before restarting meetings.

“Dear Fellow Leaders, Good evening and happy Sabbath. We thank God for the announcement made by the Republican President that services can resume. However, the revelation that the new cases per day has spiked to 8 is a source of serious concern. We are told that we can reopen observe all the necessary protocols of hand washing, using hand saniters, no handshakes, social distancing and wearing masks. And Government will be sending inspectors around to check. How many of our churches are ready for this? As many as are ready and can meet these requirements let them feel free to go ahead and worship maybe up to service time. Given the fact that cases have gone up today more than ever before, we have decided to wait for the daily updates up to Monday before we can make an official pronouncement. Thank you,” read the notice.

At Central Church, members were asked to worship from home.

“Kindly note that there will be no worship services at the Lusaka Central Church tomorrow Sabbath 25 April, 2020.”

“Digital worship services will continue on Hope Channel and our Facebook and YouTube platforms until further notice. Members are encouraged to continue taking all reasonable measures to avoid contracting COVID19.”

And Admin Elder from University Church Br. Titus Ng’andu said there will be no church meeting today.

“There will be no meeting at church as we are not able to meet all the health guidelines with regard to COVID-19. We will continue with live streaming through mixlr and facebook. The church will be informed in due course on how we proceed going forward. Please note that the risk is still very high as evidenced by surging numbers.“

Meanwhile, Religious Affairs Minister Rev. Godfridah Sumaili is on Saturday expected to hold a meeting with church leaders to provide further guidance on the reopening of Churches.

“Following the pronouncement by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia to allow churches to worship normally subject to observing the measures put in place by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs will give more clarity by outlining what is expected of the churches to ensure protection of lives and prevention of human to human transmission. This will be done in Consultation with the Ministry of Health and the church mother bodies and other Religions Organizations. Guidelines will be ready by mid day tomorrow Saturday,” read a message from her office.

Rev. Sumaili added, “We profusely thank His Excellency the President for His wise leadership in this trying time and the respect and confidence he has in our spiritual leadership.

The Catholic Church in Lusaka and Chipata says no mass should game place on Sunday.

Lusaka Archdiocese Bishop Dr. Alick Banda directed that the Church does not resume public celebrations but wait for further guidance.

And the Salvation Army it shall not resume Church meetings until further guidance is provided.

Muslims under Lusaka Muslim Society will also not be meeting.

LMS Chairman Suleman Patel made the announcement in a circular Friday evening.

“We therefore request the entire community to please be patient as we seek further guidance and clarity in the matter. We will inform you as soon as we get further clarity on the matter,” Patel guided.

48 COMMENTS

  1. How can churches reopen if they were never shutdown in the first place?
    I remember ECL in his 19th March address saying churches were to remain open provided they followed they observed the rules of social distancing. Churches shutdown on a voluntary basis.
    With the kateka forgetting what he earlier said, kaya vintu.

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    • What do you expect from people who can suspend a licence which is expired due hostilities between them and the other party?

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    • Are health workers and police going to be moving around churches to see if people will be adhering to the set precautionary measures? Or is it going to be the law maker, the judge and executioner himself bow bow going round to whip people if found wanting. I hope people won’t put down their guard as result of that pronouncement, some people might start thinking we have won the fight already.

  2. Now there are people who are thinking right and have no desire to escalate the number of covid19 i hope even in those churches which will open people can use their better judgement and stay home,one preacher in America said he will stop preaching when he is locked up or in hospital ignoring stay home directive and he is dead from covid19 let us protect us people and use common sense

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  3. I strongly feel the President His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu needs to seriously rethink this decision.

    2 funerals in South Africa spiked the rise in cases there. Not all church members in the different churches will adhere to those health guidlines. It will just take 1 or 2 misses and that disease will spread like bush fire. Please recind this decision your Exerllency.

  4. Let him and his ministers lead the way. Please take your entire cabinet to church this Sunday your excellency. Lead by example sir and the rest will follow. Let hope Lusambo video the whipping…oh we forgot he is part of the entourage.

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  5. This is a disaster by PF in the making! You can’t continue backfiring in elections year. Change political advisor.
    Open churches, but church leaders say they don’t want their members die.

  6. If Zambia was a Boxing Ring, this would have been called a Split Decision. And the winner is ….
    Jokes aside, this clearly shows that GRZ did not consult or just consulted few Religious Groupings in our Country over the opening of Churches.
    There should have been timeframe to allow Churches to but in place the recommended preventive measures. Let us not forget that some Churches, especially those run by Self-proclaimed Pastors are so desperate and zealous such that they will open instantly with minimum preventive measures in place and hence putting the entire nation at risk.
    Currently, many people in Zambia are wearing homemade masks (cloth) that according to studies do not offer much protection against Coronavirus. Will Churches be providing the proper masks that are currently…

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  7. Continuation…
    Will Churches be providing the proper masks that are currently costing K12 each?
    New studies shows that the virus can remain in the air for three hours and on floor, metal and wood for three days. Thus in big Churches were there are multiple Church services, next congregants will be at risk form both contaminated floors, seats and air. Who will be disinfecting Churches at the end of each service?
    Does GRZ have enough officers that will ensure that Churches are adhering to the ‘Presidential directives’ ?

  8. Funeral Gatherings and Weddings in Zambia correlate with Church services. Does it mean that the aforementioned gatherings are also back to normal in as much as people are wearing masks and observing social distance? Is this the paradox of Walila nvula walila matope?

  9. The President’s statement on church gatherings is very baffling indeed. I can’t understand his thought process, especially that church gatherings were never banned in the first place, just like markets and bus stations. Schools, YES, they were closed. These are the ones that will need re-opening ‘directive’.

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    • Exactly! Remember churches were not closed for worship, It’s the church mother bodies and other religious leaders who advised their members to lay low for a while, if only they had been consulted before making this announcement.

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  10. A govt without direction..no wonder the economy is a mess under this Lazy moron we need him out 2021…PF need to look for a credible candidate to replace this empty suit.

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  11. Why don’t they just congregate in small numbers? It IS possible to conduct prayers and other church activities under strict conditions of hygiene and social distancing. Most church buildings are big enough to accomodate 20 – 30 congregants seated 1,5 meters apart row by row. The president understands the spiritual role of churches in society. They are in a position to provide hope and guidance to many people who feel desperate during this difficult period. He trusts them to act responsibly, now it’s up to them to prove they are trustworthy.

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  12. Neither the president nor the government is forcing any church to open, and anyone to attend. So it is quite silly for some people and I mean opposition and churches backing opposition to try and complain over nonsensical trivial matters. Those that believe they will be able to implement the social distance rules and want to open their services can do so. Those who want to keep their churches closed can also do so. Irrespective of what your choice is, the president’s directive on social distancing will still be effective. A phased return to normal life is taking place. Those in diaspora think that Zambia should follow the western countries but they forget that we are a sovereign and that here thousands are not dying like their.

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  13. Nine chale don’t worry my brother. The people creating an issue are opposition and churches affiliated with opposition. Is it any wonder that straight after the president speech that silly boy hh also attempted to hold a conference from his bedroom. He is a very childish deranged chap who thinks he is president. His obsession with power is worrying but his party can’t see that because to them as long as he is Tonga then that’s fine. The boy will never be president and he Just wasting taxpayers money he stole by under valuing parastatals

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  14. Bwana KZ there is nothing sovereign about covid19. It knows no boundary, no status in society, no gun or military power. It kills. So get out of your little pumped ego and get to reality. In any case what economical value does the church has in this country other than spiritual.

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  15. @ Chale. The church is not closed, those who need help have access to their leaders. People are still worshipping God and what has been stopped are gatherings. Christians are worshippers regardless of where they are. But the question is, why were gatherings stopped in the first place? What has changed to justify the relaxation of the rules? People of logic and reason are asking, Maybe you can help on this platform why the president saw the need? Otherwise many are left to speculate and your answer is likely to be an assumption.

  16. Honestly Kainyo Zulu, is this your neuro psychotic head in full seizure on display or what? Lungu is nothing but a waste of space, he failed to provide guidance on the lynchings, he has failed to do so by stopping the ongoing plunder of state coffers, he has failed to curb the Bisa/Bemba tribal bigotry directed against Tongas by Nkandu Luo and her Chibesakunda clan, virtually on anything of national importance needing his intervention, all we have got is a defeaning silence. This is not leadership, this is wanton and gutless stupidity! Instead of claiming the churches that can start congregating can, he should have just shut the hell up as oppossed to instigating genocidal catastrophe then folding his arms and sticking on the fence, watching! You and Lungu often really make me wonder,…

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  17. This corona thing will really expose the calibre of leaders all over the world. If the emperor has no clothes on, there will be no hiding it. It will be clear to all that the emperor is naked. I guess you could try to deflect by claiming the opposition leader stole his clothes.

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  18. …. is your gutless stupidity and foolishness a result of the drugs/whiskey you often swallow or its a gift/endowment God bequest you with on the table of creation? It’s honestly puzzling just how detached from reality you really are to even suggest that those who do not like Lungu’s disastrous reign must leave the country, honestly. This is as much my country as it is yours. Whether I’m there or abroad, my right to comment on what is obtaining there remains unlimited. No little frightened scum of society like you does can take that right away from me. One thing I know though is this, for all your indiscretions, you will sooner than later pay a dear price. You lectured me about dead mosquitos and history on another platform, here is one for you that you are repeating: June 26, 1979 —…

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  19. But Joe Imakando is greedy, people need to see him for what he is. Remember it was Joe who asked people to donate online when people were dealing with the shock of the virus. All other churches not interested in money have said no service for the safety of their congregants, but Bread of life was quick to announce a service of Sunday.

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  20. “Rev” Sumaili, the the “further guidance” we are seeking is to explain the paradox and stark contradiction of a spike in Covid cases and relaxing the protection for citizens which is the only control we have.
    “Rev”, are you sure your orange juice was not spiked before you advised His Excellency
    to lift the restrictions?

  21. ….. June 26, 1979 — Two former Ghanian rulers, Frederick W. K. Akuffo and A. A. Afrifa, were publicly executed by firing squad today on orders of young officers who seized power in a coup earlier this month. This is a calamitous end that awaits you!

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  22. Roy mudenda you are again showing your weakness. It seems when people move abroad they become temperamental and their brains shrink in size due to the cold. You have said a lot and yet said nothing. Your skills lie in insulting me all day. Unfortunately those insults won’t put your ingombe ilede demigod in power. Whether you hate the president or wish zambian death the fact remains that we are in power. What can you do about that ? Cry like a baby until hh breast feeds you?

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  23. So Dr Chilufya has refused to give the “further guidance” and instead it will be given by “rev” Sumaili. I thought this was a health matter!

    By the way, now His Excellency has disappointed an important member of his cabinet, Bowman Lusambo, he has been reduced to Bowboy. And rest of cabinet stooges what do you think?

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  24. The President Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu should realise that his number 1 enemy is not UPND, is not HH, is not anybody else other than his ADVISORS. They may be working with some big people within PF to make the President unpopular. Mr President please watch out for snakes in the green grass.

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  25. Where are the “Christians for Lungu”?
    These can resume gatherings. ECL and his entire “ichipani” can set the example to resume Corona Services.
    As for us the wise, we’ll continue worshipping from home until further notice, even forever because COVID is here to stay! We have seen and heard in other countries how COVID patients who once tested negative and declared cured have relapsed and tested positive again! What dictates the relaxing of restrictions is the flattening of the curve but ours is climbing and we have not even peaked for goodness sake and you want churches open?

  26. Bishop Gerald Glenn, a prominent evangelical pastor in a community near Richmond, Virginia has passed away on Saturday evening from illness related to COVID-19, according to local news.
    The news comes after Glenn told his congregation on March 15 that “I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus” — just days after Virginia governor Ralph Northam urged residents to avoid gatherings of more than ten people, according to The Washington Post.

    In another development Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church pastor tests positive for COVID-19.
    Lets see the first man of gold pastor to get Covid 19 in zambia. LET HE WHO HAS THE SPIRIT OF GOD DISCERN, LET HE WHO IS DOING IT FOR THE BELLY BE THE FIRST ONE TO CATCH THE VIRUS.

  27. Visionless president caught read handed here. He wants mass graves so that the donor community can give him US dollars to steal. What else can one conclude?

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  28. Just remember that God is very busy looking after wise people. He leaves people without wisdom for Satan to take care of. If u are wise, stay home and stay safe. Observe social distancing. Do not tempt your God. What more proof do u want to show that God loves u? Are u not surprised that out of so many-rich and poor, health and unhealthy, strong and weak have passed on to the yonder world and YOU are still living! Is this not amazing? Be wise, stay safe.

  29. An impotant message from my team:
    ANOTHER HIGHWAY MIDNIGHT OPERATION

    We have to stop the virus from moving. We have to take all necessary steps to win this war.

    Around midnight we set up an inspection point at Kaluba Toll Plaza to inspect compliance levels among travelers and ensuring that our front line workers are checking if people are wearing masks and sanitizing. Those without masks were helped with some free masks and allowed to proceed.

    Together we can fight Covid-19x

  30. Bread of life awe sure.

    Most of these Pentecostal born again churches are just interested in making money on the back of congregation. I think their pastors are also missing sleeping with married women in their congregation.

    Let me put it this way. If you risk the lives of your flock now, they may all die. Where will money come from next?

    I do not blame Lungu. His decision making is flawed. He is a drunkard. A proven thief. Incompetent. Do what is best for you and your family.

    Lungu will not look after your children after you die of corona.

    And God will send you straight to hello for being a f00l.

  31. Looks like a case of pitying science against common sense and theology. Where’re the scientists?

  32. ONE CHURCH THAT I CAN NEVER EVER GO TO OR JOIN IS BREAD OF LIFE…THIS IS NO CHURCH BUT A BUSINESS…THAT IS WHY THE GUY HAS EVEN BUILT A MANSION… NOW DID JESUS OR ANY OF HIS DISCIPLES BUILD MANSIONS….AM NOT SAYING IMAKANDO MUST SLEEP IN A CAVE NO!! LOOK AT TRADITIONAL CHURCH LEADERS LIKE CATHOLIC FATHERS..VERY MODESTY!!!

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  33. ECL is just showing you his true colors of incompetence and lack of wisdom.

    A real leader would have consulted to avoid an embarrassing revolt by the churches. It gives a sense of how they will reopen the economy – without consultation or deep thought.

    The so called guidance framework should have been set up first before making this announcement. It’s as if they are thinking in rever… sorry, wait a minute, “Dununa Reverse”! I see now!

  34. It is surprising that places like chisokone and city markets still attract many people. In most cases there is no social distance. rule being applied. If people can still go to markets and jump on buses, churches can still meet but under strict conditions as given by the health experts. It is important that all Zambians take precautions wherever we are. There is no need to insult our leaders. What are we going to say if the covid-19 cases reduce after reopening of churches? We must continue to seek God in this season who is merciful and compassionate. God bless Zambia.

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  35. But they are putting more lives at risk. God owns our lives not these leaders who want us to mingle.

    Let’s not hero worship when bad decisions are being made. Elected officials have a responsibility to protect the lives and interests of the electorate. He is not a king who cannot be challenged.

  36. Mr president issue guidelines that can be adhered to without any ray of doubt. When A, B, C and D can operate subject to compliance of Covid guidelines. That advice leaves room for abuse, ignore and partial compliance. Fire your political Advisor.

  37. There is no amount of attempt at a clawback by Chagwa and his gutless cronies that will convince Zambians that the man is not an aloof *****ic fool – because we all saw his naked and reckless foolish pronouncements on TV. How could an **** like this thug be president of any country? It shows the tribal bigotry Sata engendered has festered full cycle, elections are today now decided more as a quench for “tribal bigotry” than by positive visions. Its the only way a rodent like this could rise to the top. It’s killing Zambia!

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