COVID-19: How churches make life easy for members
The demonstration of love shown by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah, United State, when members got refunded their tithes to cushion effects of Coronavirus pandemic received global commendation. Back home, many churches have also been extending hands of fellowship and love to members in different ways. Not only have members been given money and foodstuffs as palliatives, churches have also tried to encourage and boost members’ morale through online services for spiritual and physical rejuvenation.
The President, Nigerian Baptist Convention, Rev. Dr. Samson Ayokunle, said the Convention had mobilised all their local churches nationwide to distribute palliatives to needy members and those that could not access their businesses, due to the lockdown.
He explained that about 12 Associations and Conferences in the church, including Conferences, the church equally provided palliatives to member churches. Besides, the church also gave cash donations to about 400 staff at the Administrative head office from grade levels 1-7, to augment their salaries.
For the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), the Assistant General Overseer, Pastor Johnson Odesola said the church had spent over N2bn to ensure that the helpless and vulnerable church members are taken care of. He said it was done regionally. Odesola, who is also a member of the Governing Council, disclosed that the church also distributed food to members in their homes. It equally donated medical equipment to government to aid the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria.
Enumerating the assistance of Diocese of Lagos, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), rendered to members, the Bishop, Rt. Rev. Humphrey Olumakaiye said the church had given over N20m worth of food items to the needy and vulnerable. He described giving as a means of helping society. The church, he said, had also donated some essential items through their women to Lagos State workers.
According to the Public Relations Officer of Foursquare Gospel Church Nigeria, Rev. Akinbo, the church, through its National Ministerial Council, set aside sums of money for the welfare of some pastors, including missionaries in disadvantaged areas. He said the church donated food items to the host community in Ajebo, Ogun State, where the church’s major camp is located. Besides that, he explained that the church directed the local churches to give relief items to their members.
The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins distributed palliatives to various parishes in the Archdiocese. The Director of Social Communications, Rev. Fr. Anthony Godonu, said the palliatives consisted of 4, 225 bags of foodstuffs. They were handed over to the Deans of the 15 deaneries that make up the Archdiocese of Lagos.
The General Overseer of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, Dr. Daniel Kolawole Olukoya gave food items, such as rice, garri, beans, noodles, tomato paste and yam to members. The food items given to members across the country were sent through the House Fellowship leaders.
Olukoya said: “Due to restriction of movement, cash donations worth millions of naira were transferred to a large number of our people, who couldn’t get food supplies. The church will stop at nothing to ensure that members and friends of the ministry, who are in need, are catered for during this period, even as we pray for God’s intervention for a permanent seizure of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Daystar Christian Centre also shared food items and money to members in its Home Fellowship structure. The church’s Senior Pastor, Dr. Sam Adeyemi announced the church’s decision to reach out to people, following the impact of the lockdown. And shortly after his announcement, messages were sent to church members to supply their account details, since it would be impossible to reach everyone with foodstuff, the church said.