THE ROLE OF CHURCH AMID COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN KENYA
Purpose of the Study: To determine the role of the church amid Covid-19 pandemic in Kenya. One of God’s ways of speaking to us now is through the past; history is truly a great teacher especially for Christians, and whenever we are faced with hard questions, we can always look to history to help us find the answers. The books of the Old Testament prove this point; the Israelites were no strangers to hardships. We find many instances of wars, famines, and epidemics resulting in great loss of lives in the Old Testament, and the one thing that is similar to all of these events was that God was always in control. There are many events in history where Christians exhibited unconditional love for others. Martin Luther’s service during the Bubonic Plague of 1527 is one that every Christian can proudly recall. His letters to the churches during the plague shows that he was socially responsible and never acted in disregard for the life of his fellowmen. In fact, it was his priority to be present where he was needed no matter the circumstance.
Statement of the Problem: The emergence of Covid-19 and the lockdown and social-distancing that has come with it has affected every church across the world. No longer able to meet together, fellowship is now through online worship services, Bible studies and courses. With conferences, festivals and events cancelled, there has been a proliferation of webinars and seminars and ‘Zoom-fatigue’ for many leaders. While some parts of the Church have struggled with the loss of access to buildings, amongst evangelicals this seems to be less of an issue and contrary to some media reports, we have found that there is not a great clamor for a relaxation of rules on mass gatherings. In general, like society at large, the Church has sought to follow official advice. The emergence of Covid-19 has presented a number of ways in which community has broken down, but also opportunities for the church to step in and respond with solidarity and love. It is in the backdrop of these concerns that this study sought to determine the role of the church amid Covid-19 pandemic in Kenya.
Methodology: The study was a literature based in which relevant literature from across the world were reviewed to obtain study themes.
Result: The findings revealed that social media and other forms of technology serve as an innovative platform for religious leaders and faith-based organizations to communicate with congregations while adhering to social distancing and restriction of movement measures.
Conclusion: The communication campaign are implemented in part to support faith leaders in disseminating health and safety guidance for reopening and attending houses of worship. The messaging addressed potential concerns, fears, anxieties and the dos and don’ts” surrounding safety measures and accurate information on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recommendation: It was hence recommended that just as health officials try to explain their recommendations, so experts in the scientific study of religion need to surface religion-abetted value judgments that impact behaviors relevant to viral spread. Experts need to explain where religion is causing problems and find creative ways to communicate alternative ways of thinking.
Keywords: Role, Church, Covid-19, Pandemic, Kenya.
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