Churches embrace chance to worship at Easter
Pretoria - Religious leaders in the country welcomed the opportunity to congregate on Good Friday, something they could not do last year when the country was in hard lockdown.
Bigger events such as the usual Zion Christian Churches and St Engenas Zion Christian Church gathering in Moria, as well as the Grace Bible Church Good Friday Celebration at Orlando Stadium did not happen.
However, Grace Bible Church, under the leadership of Bishop Mosa Sono, had a live service from its Pimville main campus, held under strict Covid-19 health and safety protocols, streamed via social media via its digital platform and Soweto TV.
During the service, Sono reiterated that the church would continue to lobby government to allow churches to operate at 50% capacity of their venues.
The Apostolic Faith Mission Church of SA in Sunnyside, which has space to hold 2 500 worshippers, had eight services on Friday and Sunday to accommodate members.
Pastor Thomas Swift, also leader of the regional churches in the east of Tshwane and into Siyabuswa in Mpumalanga, said worshippers were most importantly grateful to have the opportunity to “do what has become an Easter norm”.
“The Easter weekend last year was really a difficult one because for the first time we could not be together to remember what Christ did for us on the cross and his resurrection. This year at least things were better, though some members have to watch on screen.
“The important thing is that we comply and help the government fight this virus while doing the work of the Lord. Hopefully, as things become better, President Cyril Ramaphosa will announce permission to gather at 50% capacity …” he said.
Swift said people must not undermine the positive role the church plays in building society, especially in times like these, because people have lost jobs and financial well-being, marriages are struggling, and some people are on the brink of ending their lives. That, he said, is where the church comes in…
Church members George Mugabe and Stanley Pillay said they felt blessed to have celebrated Easter in church.
Pillay said: “We are excited that this Easter there was such a difference, that we could get back together and celebrate the resurrection of Christ.”
Mugabe said: “In church we find solutions, because God has the power. We have praised him (Christ) and we are happy because death has no power, He lives among us and leads … us. We believe our God is capable of making this Covid-19 go away.”