The Response of the Church in Bostwana to the Global Pandemic of COVID–19
From the Botswana Network of Christian Communities, which includes the Botswana Council of Churches and the Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC).
Adopted at a special meeting held on March 12, 2020.
1. The leadership of the three Christian umbrella bodies being; Botswana Council of Churches (BCC), Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana (EFB) and Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC), meeting under the establishment of Botswana Network of Christian Communities (BONECCO), convened a meeting on the 12th March 2020 to consider the status of and respond to the Covid-19 PANDEMIC. The following is a statement from their meeting;
2. The Church has continuously observed with deep concern the developments around the spread and dire effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Known to have started as an outbreak in Wuhan, China, this virus was clearly determined to, and it continues to ravage human life while creating fear, hopelessness and uncertainty. In consideration of its increasingly undesirable effect and impact on human life as well as on the socio-economy of the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it as a Global Emergency and pandemic, respectively.
3. Resulting from the rapid spread and effect of this pandemic, we note with sadness its bearing on the livelihoods of people wherein some households will be subjected to the demise of their beloved ones, loss of jobs, deprivation of social way of life, limitation of fellowship traits among others both at home and on the global scale.
4. The efforts of the Government of Botswana to raise awareness among all the people through all forms of media platforms including television, radio stations, newspapers, the resolve to suspend and/or cancel some activities of national assignments, interest, and benefits are all welcome developments undoubtedly made with the nation at heart.
5. This pandemic is hitting the world at the pulse of the Christian season of Lent, where we remember the sufferings of our Lord who journeyed in great pain and shame to the Cross of His crucifixion. Yet, with great hope, He ultimately conquered the grave and rose in victory to the glory of new life. In this regard, we are greatly strengthened to come face to face with COVID-19 in its effort to present a test of our faith and our convictions on the healing mercies of Jesus Christ.
6. The Church of God therefore draws the attention of the nation to the cross of Jesus Christ whereupon our help and healing perennially flows. Therefore, we ask the Church and indeed our nation to invoke the spirit of prayer that always holds the nation together in times of pain and suffering, life and death and indeed in times of joy and happiness. For in standing resolutely together in prayer we touch the heart of God and transform situations of our time.
7. We hold no doubt that beyond this scourge, our nation will rise together to defeat the temporary setbacks and backlashes we are bound to suffer at individual and national levels. In this regard, we appeal to the nation to stand united in the hope that beyond the tears and pains of the pandemic lie the hope of new and refreshed life.
8. In light of the above, and without seeking to interfere in the proceedings and rights of any Denomination; yet holding the value of life and health of the nation in high esteem, the Church Leaders call upon the Church to;
▪ Consider at all times the precautionary measures as always outlined by the health practitioners.
▪ Minimize attendance of high-risk gatherings that are a possible spreading ground of COVID-19.
▪ Consider the suspension of gatherings such as Easter Conferences, Camps and Pilgrimages often held during this time of our Lord Jesus Christ.
▪ Continue to seek updates from reliable sources for monitoring and decision-making purposes.
9. These are difficult times and indeed difficult decisions are to be made whose effect are but only temporary. Truly this moment shall pass and in the fullness of time the world shall experience the fullness and manifestation of the Scripture wherein God declared, “If my people who are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray, I shall hear them from above, answer their prayers and heal their land,” II Chronicles 7: 14
10. God Bless Botswana and Keep the World Safe for this Generation and Generations yet to Come.
Rev. Gabriel Tsuaneng