Social distancing, face masks, 20-second hand wash with soap, use of sanitizer; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. These are phrases that seem to have defined our lives in the past 4-8 weeks. There are a few more though…no handshakes and no congregation of people. Two preventive measures that strike at the very core and identity of our Church. Yet, it is for our own safety and good health.
We are in interesting times; we cannot meet, shake hands and celebrate Holy Communion; our faith is tested and yet we endure. Despite the challenges, we still joyfully receive the Word of God from our Apostles as though nothing had happened. While maintaining all health guidelines, we still fellowship with brothers and sisters through technology; voice calls, video calls and social media platforms.
The divine service is now in our homes, in our rooms and in our hands. Many are being blessed through the divine services broadcasted over the internet. A brother recently shared his experience of the first live streamed District Apostle service via Youtube and said, “I did not feel as if I was home. I felt as though I was physically present in church, sitting before the altar and partaking in every activity with the congregation – without the Holy Communion.” Apostle Schnaufer also felt same, while seemingly preaching to an empty church: “We are all at a distance from each other now, but we are indeed together in spirit and truth.”
Here in Ghana, the use of the Whatsapp messaging platform has been very effective in keeping and maintaining the congregations as well as sharing information.
Palm Sunday live stream link: On Friday 3rd April, Lead Apostle Samuel Oppong-Brenya shared the Youtube link of the service to a group of all District Leaders via Whatsapp. Priest Ebenezer Akyirem, on receipt, forwarded this to a group of tertiary alumni and students.
One sermon in many local translations: Bishop Eric Ampadu (rtd.) forwarded and shared the summarized translations of a live streamed service to all reporters and also chief seminar trainers from the 15 Apostle areas in Ghana. The translations were done in Twi, Ga and Ewe; to be shared to all members nationwide.
A virtual devotion: On Wednesday 25th March 2020, Shepherd Jones Kyere, rector of Madina congregation, led a virtual devotion via Whatsapp with 162 members. He used a mix of text and audio clips to engage the members.
A bible and prayer meeting on Whatsapp: Shepherd Bernard Owusu, rector of the KNUST congregation regularly leads a bible and prayer meeting, via Whatsapp, with his congregation. The 31st of March 2020 was no exception.
Together, let us join the rest of the world and celebrate the Easter Sunday divine service with our Chief Apostle as one big family.