To Church leaders across South Africa

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You will be aware of the announcement by our President on Tuesday night (26 May) that Religious places of worship will be allowed to start holding worship services from 1st June.

While we rejoice at the opportunity that this creates for churches to begin to move back to some kind of normality, this places an extra responsibility on church leadership to care for the safety and health of their people.

Some churches may decide to restart their services. Other churches may decide to hold off reconvening their services and where possible use social media platforms to stay connected.

The Coronavirus is not going away anytime soon. In fact, Government and health scientists predict that the next four months will see a major spike in infections and deaths from the virus. We would not want this spike being due to churches not being careful enough. There will be strict guidelines under which church services can recommence. As Heartlines we urge churches to adhere to these guidelines.

In some areas, we have not done well in observing social distancing. If we are not extra cautious, church meetings could become breeding grounds for the spread of the virus. This has already happened in churches in different parts of the world.

We have been inspired to see the incredible work that many churches are doing in caring for the needy and marginalised through food parcels and other interventions. We encourage churches to continue this ministry.

Heartlines has put together some useful ideas and alternative ways of connecting using social media that churches may find helpful. See www.churchinaction.org.za, the WhatsApp line  (060) 058-2107, www.church.wysza.org, or contact Heartlines.

Our prayer is that the Church in South Africa will be an example to the nation on how to love our neighbours by the way we go about protecting each other from unnecessary exposure to the virus.

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