The COVID-19 Pandemic continues to ravage the entire planet by taking away many lives, destroying the economy and handicapping all sectors and angles of lives. Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Churches have been suffering severely until now. In many countries and Rwanda in particular, churches are still closed and there is no way to physically congregate, churches are forced to worship virtually, which is not accessible for many Christians as the internet is not for everyone in Shyogwe Diocese.
The government meeting which was held on January 18, 2021 took the decision to close churches again in the whole country and put Kigali City into total lockdown as the statistics showed the sharp rise in new COVID-19 cases and high rate of deaths. What did the statistics show on the day of churches closing again: 227 new cases; 3,701 total active cases; 7,412 recovered; 766,817 total tests; 146 deaths (1.3%) and 7.7% positive test rate. The below picture shows the report of February 11,2021.
Seeing all this confusion and uncertainty caused by the pandemic against the church’s normal procedures, church leaders in Rwanda had to change strategy in order to keep the church mission going. Among many new strategies, we can mention the following. Virtual worship services – but still very few Christians can access these online. Sharing sermons, teachings, testimonies, songs via Social media also has helped church ministers to keep the mission alive. The question remains tough for those who cannot even access Social media – parish priests are now trying to send them bible lessons via phone text messages.
Reverend Mark SINGIRANKABO, the parish priest of EAR GIKOMERO Parish said that “he calls his Christians by telephone to comfort and share with them the Word of God, he also sends them text messages and joins the farmers as cultivating is allowed and he can share the Word of God with those in their farming activities making sure social distancing is observed”.
By Marcel SEBAHIRE