Thirteen (13) weeks and counting, and life is yet to return to normalcy. A group of people in the church are also unable to carry out their normal duties for very obvious reasons. In this report, some ministers from the Cape Coast, Takoradi, Volta (North, Central & South) Apostle areas share their thoughts on life as a minister during the corona virus pandemic.
How has COVID-19 affected pastoral care and vineyard work?
Community Evangelist Elijah Appianing (Rector, Sekondi Congregation): “Yes! Yes! Yes! It has become difficult for me to visit members regularly as I used to. All the evangelism and bible studies we planned has been disrupted.”
Congregational Rector John B. Aikins (Assin-Fosu congregation): “Somehow yes, nevertheless we are able to communicate with some members on phone. Vineyard work, on the other hand, has been largely opportunistic.”
Priest Amafu (Ho Central Congregation): “It has affected fellowship with all members, especially with those who are not easily reachable via phone due to the restrictions.”
What about the Sunday School, how have they been catered for during this time?
Congregational Rector Alexander Nyorkeh (Assin-Nyankomasi Congregation): “We are sometimes lucky to meet some of the children at home when we embark on pastoral care. We talk to them and engage them in question-and-answer sessions.”
Deputy District Rector George Sunu (Kyekyewere District): “For the Sunday school children, I constantly encourage their parents to share the message with them after they watch the YouTube divine services.”
Deputy District Rector Bismark Awudey (Adaklu-Tonu District): “The Sunday school teachers in close communities, accompany a minister to visit members and in the process, interact with the children. They also communicate via phone with some children they cannot easily access. Some parents have also mentioned of holding Sunday school lessons for their children.”
Shephard Kwaw (Kyekyewere Congregation): “Whenever we visit members in their homes, as part of pastoral care, we pray and share a lesson with the children. Although the feeling may not be same as their regular Sunday school, we are hopeful it will still have the desired impact.”
Any feedback from members concerning our YouTube divine services?
Deputy District Rector Samuel Assuah Boadi (Takoradi District): “Generally, members are happy and thankful for the effort. Those with internet accessibility always express joy of being fed with the word of God. Others, have also complained of poor internet connectivity and their limitation in fully understanding the English language.”
Deputy District Rector Jacob Tiburum (Krachi/Bimbilla District): “Many members complain they do not have smart phones or laptops, which in my opinion is understandable due to their low income levels and lack of exposure. The few who can access the services are also challenged with cost of data and internet connectivity issues. Many of such members have recommended the use of local TV stations to broadcast divine services.”
Shepherd Solomon Gottah (Hohoe congregation): “The translations into the local languages of Ga, Twi and Ewe have been very helpful. It is a good move to keeping members in fellowship as much as possible.”
How do you cater for members who cannot watch the online services?
District Rector Christoper Xa (Hohoe District): “Such members are reached on phone where necessary to share the service with them. Where feasibly possible, others are visited.”
District Rector Dacosta Asare (Cape Coast Apostle Area): “I go to the villages after watching the service and share the sermon with as many as I meet in their homes. It is a very interesting experience and I love it.”
District Rector Justice Birikorang-Darko (Cape Coast Apostle Area): “We share the translated versions on WhatsApp platforms and for those without WhatsApp, we call as many as possible via telephone to give them the text word and a brief summary of the sermon.