Rev. Stephen Pedro, manager of Witness Ministry’s Task Team Congregational Witness, said, “Last week, on Tuesday, December 1, some of our pastors in synodal service (PSS) reached out via a ZOOM meeting to our church leaders in two of our URC presbyteries in the Eastern Cape, namely those of Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage. They are hit hard by the renewed spread and consequences of the COVID-19 virus.”

He explains, “The aim was to assure them of our solidarity in this time of high numbers of people being hospitalized and deaths due to the COVID pandemic. We also wanted to determine how the aggravating situation impacts the pastors, members and congregations as well as their communities.

“The feedback was that things were not going well at the grassroots level at all; it’s worse than media reports suggest, and that they need all the support they can. In particular, they called for intercession for the situation and, if possible, for the church leadership to call for a day of prayer.

He continues: “To top it all, congregations are also confronted with criminal elements, such as burglaries and vandalism at their church buildings. And on top of that, they also face unsympathetic insurance companies.

“In view of the new reality, many congregations have decided to stop their meetings on Sundays and in the week and only continue with funerals, and then only at the church with stricter COVID-19 protocols and measures in place.

“As PSS, we appeal to all our members and congregations to live with an attitude that we are all COVID-positive because as the body of Christ, it means that if one member suffers, the whole body suffers. Let us each take the responsibility to practise self-care and take care of each other by staying indoors as much as possible. If we have to go out, let us wear masks at all times, maintain a social distance of at least 1.5 m (when we gather in buildings), sanitize our hands, and wherever possible wash hands with soap and under running water.

Contact Rev. Stephen Pedro at stephen@kaapkerk.co.za for more information.