As at today March 22,3o8,463 persons have contracted coronavirus, 13,069 have died and 95, 828 have recovered but some churches in Africa have decided to go ahead with their services claiming satan cannot stop the work of God.
In South Africa, Bishop Bheki Ngcobo of the South African Zionist Church is defying the ban on mass gatherings, vowing his congregants will worship the Lord this easter.
His argument seems plausible: “”If this thing is so serious why you don’t stop the companies to operate. You give the companies the option of applying precautions and you don’t give us those precaution measures.”
“If we stop God from operating do you think we can survive in the economy as well? I chose God without consulting the government.”
As a Saturday afternoon, confirmed cases of coronavirus infections have risen to 242. Meanwhile, many churches in South Africa claim they will open for services defying government restrictions.
In Nigeria, prominent pastors will begin to conduct Sunday services online and on television stations in compliance with the directive of government banning all gatherings, including religious gatherings to curb the spread of coronavirus.
The Presiding Bishop of Living Faith Church Worldwide, Dr David Oyedepo, who announced the postponement of the church’s Sunday services across Nigeria and other parts of the world, asked members of the church to join the Sunday service through the church’s YouTube; online radio and other social media platforms.
The memo which announced the suspension of worship in Winners’ Chapel churches dated March 20 was written by the First Vice President of the LFC, Bishop David Abioye.
The Church in Wales suspended all public gatherings, including Mothering Sunday services, earlier this week.
The Muslim Council of Britain and the Roman Catholic church issued similar guidance.
Archbishop of Wales John Davies said prayers could be shared online, with some services being streamed.
“Churches are being encouraged to stay open during the day to offer space for people to pray in their own time, to find spiritual refreshment and reflection,” he added.
In Ghana, Apostle Kofi Nkrumah Sarkodie was arrested by the Ashanti Regional Police Command for holding a church service at North Suntreso in Kumasi.
According to a reports, the Police clashed with some church members after they resisted the pastor’s arrest.
Also in the United States, some Americans have ignored guidance to practice social distancing. Police reminded one church’s leadership after they held a service for more than 300 people last week.
On Tuesday night, just before the police arrived, Pastor Tony Spell stood in the pulpit of his Louisiana church and delivered a message to hundreds of worshipers before him and fellow believers around the world.
“I just want to encourage the religious world tonight, Amen!,” Spell said in a sing-song voice, building to the crest of his sermon.
“Keep going to church! Keep on worshiping God! … The church is a hospital for the sick! It’s a place of healing for the brokenhearted!”
The matter seems complex as many churches argue that private companies and other institutions are allowed to use precaution whilst church people are not allowed to gather.