Pastors reflect on Easter in Covid times

Boitumelo Maswabi
Grace of God International Ministry, Tebo Hannah

Easter Holiday in 2021 was a lot sombre for Batswana for many reasons, among them the increase in VAT and the government’s announcement of movement restrictions which nullified already issued interzonal travel permits just days before the holidays.

As church plays an important role of comforting, reassuring and giving hope in hopeless times, Voice Woman spoke to women pastors about the Holy Week, their opinion on limited worship service times and in-person gatherings, and what message of hope they had for their congregants.

Prophetess Tebo Hannah “Mother of All Nations ” – Overseer and Founder of Grace of God International Ministry

The Church has been adversely affected by the pandemic as lockdown meant no one attended service and church had to introduce online services, which was not entirely helpful because internet access is a luxury.

However, our church also introduced a WhatsApp group to make sure that other congregants aren’t left behind.

The Church respects the government’s decision of 50 members per service for 2 hours though this restriction discourages some members from attending church.

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This now means the spiritual life of the ones left behind is being affected, resulting in many backsliding.

Many families are going through challenges thus need spiritual upliftment, prayer and deliverance.

I believe that it is important for church doors to remain open for whomever to come to worship and pray during this time of great challenges.

As ministers of the word, we are giving back through preaching the Word of God, which is a service provided for free.

The book of Matthew 18:20 says, “Where two or three are gathered together in Gods name, the Lord is there in their midst.”

Government should give churches essential services permits so that we can operate freely just like restaurants to pray to fight this pandemic.

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1 Timothy 2:2 speaks well for the Power of Prayer. We are expected to be submissive (Romans 13:1-7) to our rulers of the land and support them in prayer all the time.

In Joshua 8:1 Joshua was given an instruction by the Lord on how he can defeat the Army of Ali and the Lord instructed Joshua to have Power of Agreement with him.

Preachers of the Word have to always be like Joshua, have Power of Agreement with God and continue praying for our government and leaders.

The Church should not only pray during elections, fearing the incoming new government.

Easter is significant within Christianity and is the foundation of the Christian faith; the fulfilled prophecy of the Messiah who was persecuted and rose on the 3rd day (Isaiah 53).

Remembering the resurrection of Jesus is a way to renew daily hope that we have victory over sin.

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Grace of God International Ministry celebrated Easter by honouring God with prayer, fasting, and giving to the less privileged. My message to you is, “Believe in this truth of death and resurrection, accepting Jesus Christ as your Saviour for your salvation.”

Thapelo Beleme – Anglican Church (Bishop’s wife)

The church of God is hanging in there during this pandemic.

Without meeting for prayer and worship, it has been so difficult as the church is a non-profitable organisation.

Even spiritually, the morale is low but we believe God that it shall be well.

Anglican Church (Bishop\'s wife) Beleme
Anglican Church  Leader:  The Bishop’s wife, Thapelo Beleme

As women in the church, we feel the number 50 is very small. Our Government should have considered the capacity of the church because some churches accommodate up to 2 000 congregants.

Religious gatherings should be essential as we see buses and taxis operating normally carrying people to full capacity.

We cannot understand why the church is limited to 50. As the church, we pray for our leaders, especially the president and his cabinet, all the frontline workers – pastors included – as they comfort the bereaved and bury the deceased.

2 chronicles 7-14 says, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and turn away from their wicked ways, I will heal their land.”

We observed the Holy Week not like in previous years, as 2 hours was short. Preaching and prayers were conducted virtually.

Lastly, I would say, “People of God, let’s have hope that God is listening to our prayers. He will answer at his own time. Let us not cease to pray and listen to his word. Joshua 1:6-9 says He will not leave us nor forsake us. Let us be strong and courageous. We must not let the book of the law depart from you mouth. To believers and non-believers, Jesus died for us all. Let us return to him, he will return to us. He is the answer to our questions. Let us all observe Covid-19 protocols. It shall be well with us, amen.”

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