Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
A TOTAL of 22 churches converged at Ntabazinduna in Umguza District, Matabeleland North for a thanksgiving ceremony to express gratitude to God for saving the nation from the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
At the height of Covid-19, churches, among other public gatherings, were banned by Government as part of measures to contain the spread of the virus, which has so far claimed more than six million lives globally.
Zimbabwe has recorded a significant decrease in Covid-19 deaths during this winter season compared to last year owing to measures the Government put in place to contain the deadly global pandemic. During the first winter season after Covid-19 was first recorded in Zimbabwe, 118 people succumbed to the deadly virus.
In Zimbabwe, the Delta variant was the most prevalent accounting for 98 percent of all the Covid-19 cases recorded in 2021.
As of Saturday, Zimbabwe had recorded 257 340 confirmed cases, including 251 224 recoveries and 5 599 deaths. To date, a total of 6 518 826 people have been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Zimbabwe was one of the first African countries to reach the targeted 10 percent goal set by the World Health Organisation and the country is aiming at vaccinating at least 10 million citizens to achieve herd immunity. Government has since procured more than 20 million doses to ensure that citizens have access to the lifesaving vaccines.
The event which was at Ntabazinduna Community Hall, was organised by the Ntabazinduna Pastors Association (NPA), with local representatives drawn from 22 denominations.
Speaking during the event, NPA president, Reverend Samuel Mabhena said most rural churches are struggling and urged rich churches to consider sharing proceeds with their poor counterparts.
“I have a plea to these rich Pentecostal churches to consider donating some money to struggling churches in rural areas. We have some congregants in rural areas who have no shoes while some don’t even have bibles,” he said.
“We hear that these churches are filthy rich, yet they are so selfish when it comes to donating part of the money realised from tithes and offerings.”
Quoting scriptures, Rev Mabhena, urged rich churches to practise what they preach.
“That money is God’s money; the rich are God’s people and so are the poor churches in the rural areas. Instead of looking down upon poor rural churches, I challenge these rich churches to come down to the rural areas and help fellow brothers and sisters in Christ,” he said.
“In Matthew 25 verses 35 to 40, the Bible says for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me.”
The proceedings started at shortly after 10AM with congregants being led in song by different church leaders who later took turns to address them.
In interviews, congregants commended the organisers of the event for promoting unity among churches through such gatherings.
Mrs Esnath Ncube, a member of the Free Presbyterian Church Zimbabwe, said the event reflected the spirit of unity and love in churches.
“Today, we learnt that it is important to be united as churches and not look down upon each other. We were all created by one God and the teachings from this event were quite refreshing and a blessing to us. As churches, we were taught to love each other as Christians and support each other in both good and bad times such as the Covid-19 period,” she said.
“There was a time that we didn’t know that we would one day meet physically due to Covid-19 lockdown regulations, by the grace of God here we are meeting again.”
Mrs Ncube thanked the leadership drawn from various churches for coming together to organise the event.
Mrs Sipho Khumalo from Brethren in Christ Church which is in the Ntabazinduna area said they are prayerful that God will continue delivering the world from Covid-19. — @bonganinkunzi