An unprecedented Easter – a time of private prayer and on-line worship. Pictured standing alone outside his empty church is Rev Sizwe Ngcobo: assistant priest, St Agnes Anglican Church, Kloof, and one of the church leaders supporting the combined churches’ response to COVID-19 relief efforts.
An unprecedented Easter – a time of private prayer and on-line worship. Pictured standing alone outside his empty church is Rev Sizwe Ngcobo: assistant priest, St Agnes Anglican Church, Kloof, and one of the church leaders supporting the combined churches’ response to COVID-19 relief efforts.

KZN churches pledge R1 million to assist with Covid-19 relief efforts

By Mercury Reporter Time of article published Apr 14, 2020

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Durban - Churches, Christian associations, ecumenical networks and ministers’ fraternals have banded together to pledge R1 million towards Covid-19 relief efforts in KwaZulu-Natal. 

In a letter this week, the group applauded the decisive leadership as carried out by President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

Chairperson of the KwaZulu Natal Church Leaders Group and Chairperson of the KZN Inter Religious Council, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, said they affirmed the generous and commendable example set by Ramaphosa, the Cabinet and the Premiers who pledged a third of their salary to the Solidarity Fund. 

"This is a powerful gesture of inestimable symbolic value. We gladly notify you that the Churches across the KwaZulu Natal province, are pledging R1 million to the relief emergency in our province.”

“South Africa is in Lockdown until the end of April in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This dramatic and yet critical step is having a very significant impact on the country, especially on the food security of a majority of the people,” Napier said. 

 He said as a part of their joint-strategy, churches will be rolling-out cash vouchers across the 11 districts through their fundraising efforts. 

"Other elements of their provincial plan include: communications and awareness; pastoral care and advocacy around social and economic vulnerability. All of this is undergirded by an inter-denominal space for prayer and reflections on the life-affirming theology of care in the face of the pandemic," he said. 

They have partnered with the South African Council of Churches and Intellimali, a well-established SMS voucher service provider, to develop a solution that sends vouchers via SMS to beneficiaries identified by local community leaders and church networks.

These vouchers can be used at any Shoprite, PicknPay, Usave, Checkers or Boxer store, to purchase food and other essential items. With operational costs funded by a designated grant, and Intellimali supplying the system at cost, this solution is extremely cost effective with 99% of funds getting directly to the beneficiary.

Church leaders stated that they further supported the President’s call for those who have resources to make a similar contribution urgently, stating “now is the time for sacrifice, for self-sacrificing generosity, and most importantly for Corporate responsibility, care and solidarity.”

The KZN Covid-19: Churches Respond website has further details around their relief work and how to contribute to this. http://www.covid19response.co.za/

The Mercury

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