- Say they cannot self-sustain due to 50 members limit
- Wonder why they arenalways the last to be considered
The Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC) Botswana Chapter president, Mookami Tebogo Motlhagodi has warned that the 50 members limit per service has thrown the church into financial distress as many can no longer self sustain due to dwindling offerings and tithes.
He told this publication in an interview that he finds it shocking why the church is always the last to be considered when lifting some restrictions, saying they too are adversely affected by these restrictions economically.
Motlhagodi said churches also have financial obligations to sustain their work and role in the society. “If we don’t complain nobody cares to consider our struggles. The Ministry that is supposed to be our voice and carrying our best interests always relegates us to the periphery. For how long should we suffer because nobody really cares about churches,” he charged, further adding that the economic impact in many places is already changing the face of the church and the congregations.
The OAIC President advised that government should open up services and allow people to pray just as it seems to be happening with activities in other sectors. “There are people who depend financially on the church and if the church is not making money these people will suffer. Not only that the word of God like other vocations to some extent also functions through money,” he said further adding that they want the government to increase the limit to 250 as most churches are sinking.
The government has been mum on the churches since the Minister of Trade allowed services to resume, leaving the limit at a scanty 50. Some churches in the country have been hosting over 200 members. The COVID 19 taskforce posits that the virus is still a serious threat to the country hence the need to remain extra cautious. The World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed that a cure for the virus may be available by end of the year.
Churches, in the meantime, have temporarily suspended their activities, while some have found new ways of reaching out to congregations.
Many opened and expanded existing worship to online networks or established new services online using different forms of social media, websites, TV and radio. In a country like Botswana lack of internet connectivity has created a disconnect from their congregations.