On Monday evening 21 September 2020, District Apostle J Kriel held a meeting for all ministers in Sandton congregation.
This meeting was made available on the free-to-air Set-top box through NACTV, YouTube and Facebook Live. Some of the local Apostles, Bishops and District Rectors from Gauteng were also in attendance
Before the commencement of the agenda, the District Apostle expressed his sincere thanks to the ministers for the care and love they have shown to others during this period. With the words out of the book of Matthew 25:40, "And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me'.", he encouraged all to continue with their good works and reminded them that what we do, we do for the Master.
The main purpose of the meeting was to inform the ministers of the COVID-19 pandemic and provide them with the necessary information they require to return to church. Thereafter, the District Apostle introduced Dr Florette K Treurnicht, Head of Virology at the University of the Witwatersrand, who shared an in-depth presentation on the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of the presentation, the Doctor spoke about the following topics:
• Zoonoses and Emergency respiratory viruses
• COVID-19 symptoms
• The severity of COVID-19
• Complications of COVID-19
• Historic Influenza A pandemics compared to COVID-19
• Statistics in South Africa
• Infection prevention and control
• How to ensure a safe environment at church
• The positive impact of preventative measures
For those who were unable to watch the meeting, please click here to download the presentation.
After the presentation, the District Apostle thanked the Doctor for all the information she shared. He concluded with words from Paul who told Timothy to "reject profane and old wives’ fables” and encouraged all to reject 'fake news'.
The next item on the agenda was returning to church. The District Apostle spoke about the necessity of having a COVID-19 co-ordinator in every congregation. He also spoke about the importance of taking into account the parameters of maintaining 1.5m distance and having a maximum of 250 people in a church hall. Each venue must also establish its new maximum capacity. This will depend on how big the church hall is. This capacity needs to be strictly adhered to. For example, Sandton congregation can take 200 members on a normal day, but with the 1.5m ruling, only 40 may attend.
It is the District Apostle's desire for each member to be contacted and asked if they will be coming back to services. The District Apostle also highlighted that no one will be ostracized, prejudiced, or told they are unfaithful if they choose not to come back to services yet.
With this, Sunday services will continue to broadcast until at least the end of the year. However, from 11 October, divine services are expected to be conducted as per norm in congregations. The AVT services will only be for members who choose not to come. Senior members and those who should not be in attendance should be lovingly discouraged to attend services.
The District Apostle also said that medical evidence has shown that the use of thermometers is not necessary. The decision, based on medical advice, is that the use of thermometers is no longer needed in congregations.
All servants who feel uneasy with returning to church were encouraged to do the responsible thing and choose not to return to church.
With regards to the serving of Holy Communion, it remains prohibited to touch. The serving of Holy Communion, Holy Baptism, Holy Sealing and acts of blessing, involves touch, and thus far we cannot do so. The Church is awaiting information from the government to give clarity regarding the aforenoted. For now, we are preparing videos on how Holy Communion will be served when we are able to do so.
Lastly, the District Apostle spoke about Thanksgiving 2020. He started by saying that this special day is not just about offering. He went on to encourage all to continue to do good and share the gifts that we have. Furthermore, he stated that in the last 6 months, churches could not be occupied, but we have seen many heroes of faith who have helped God's people. With this, he assured all that their sacrifices are appreciated and encouraged everyone to continue their good works.
The District Apostle Helper M.P. Mkwanazi concluded the meeting with a prayer.