SACC in Tshwane warns against reopening of churches
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Pretoria - The South African Council of Churches (SACC) in Greater Tshwane has warned against the reopening of churches in the middle of the Covid-19 third wave, which continues to take a toll on many people’s lives.
SACC spokesperson, Reverend Joseph Chabangu, said the churches affiliated to the organisation in Tshwane were opposed to the call from some church leaders that the government reopen churches in the midst of rising virus infections and related fatalities.
“The council distances itself from heeding the call of prematurely opening churches under the current circumstances,” he said.
He emphasised that in the wake of the current status quo of the pandemic, the “council cannot afford to disregard the trauma that our people are experiencing due to the pandemic”.
While the council pronounced that it was concerned about the closure of churches, it said it could not at the same time afford to contribute to the spread of the virus through gatherings.
Chabangu said the council was “aware of the hardships that leaders are going through due to this closure”.
However, he cautioned against embarking on any action aimed at confronting the government, “particularly now that the country is just beginning to heal from the recent uprisings”.
He expressed commitment to lead by example in fighting against Covid-19, saying the council would wait for further direction from both the national and provincial offices on the reopening of churches.
“We believe that we serve God who knows, sees and hears our cries and, in the midst of hardships, He will provide for the needs of His servants according to His riches and glory through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour,” he added.
The council's stance was at odds with the sentiments of a group of pastors who marched to the Union Buildings on July 16 under the banner Pastors Against Church Closure.
The pastors, who claimed to be representing around 257 charismatic independent churches across the country, slammed the government’s position to close the churches, saying it was an attack on their religion.
“We have agreed that the church is under attack and we must take a stand to defend (it). We reached an agreement to collaborate in joining forces to put the government under pressure to open churches. We are clear that no church must close. It’s a misguided approach by the government to close the church. The pastors or ministers must stand and defend the church of Christ,” said the national convenor of the pastors, Moafrika Wa Maila.
Yesterday, Wa Maila urged pastors to gather at their churches and pray for South Africa.