To all Regions, Local Churches
& Church Extension Charges
Fellow Congregationalists, brothers and sisters in Christ greetings to you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirt. We the ministerial committee of the Zimbabwe Synod representing our 7 regions, 3 local Churches and our 3 Church Extension Charges are compelled by the charge that Christ has placed on us to write to you during this difficult time. We come in a pastoral spirit to you at a time when as a people of faith are under siege from the merciless Covid-19 pandemic that is causing untold suffering to our families, the church and the entire nation. In the name of our synod we want to remind you of the love of God that is with us always even through the fire. Nothing shall have the power to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. No matter what havoc this pandemic subjects us to, it shall by no means separate us from the love of God which itself is stronger than death.
The situation is a challenge to the meaning of faith, yet we hold on firmly to our conviction and knowledge that Jesus has conquered this world by his death. He tells us saying: John16:32 “Behold, the hour comes, yes, is now come, that you shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” In John16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” We preach this word to all during this time that “The Father is with you and you will overcome because Christ has won“.
To those of us who are battling with this disease, we urge you to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his mighty. God is with you. Weeping may endure for the night, joy cometh in the morning. We look forward to your testimony of healing. At the same time we are cognisant that some amongst us have gone to be with the Lord during this time. We commend their souls to the Lord. To their loved ones “Be Still – God is with you. His grace is enough for you.”
May we then as a church reflect on the call of the Lord to us in the past four years “Reaching New Frontiers. Hope and Healing”. By this theme we are reminded that this era plagued with covid-19 is a frontier that we are crossing as we walk with God. It has heightened the blessing of the online ministry as a driver of mission. This is our Hope and belief that a time where we will be in a healed world free of such pandemics is at hand. We say this guided by the word of God and the experience of God’s love seen in the past pandemics as well as present testimonies of the saints.
Kindly receive the following Recommendations.
- May we exercise extreme caution as we mourn those who have succumbed to Covid-19. We are encouraged that church leaders and the ministers’ guide those in mourning to by all means possible avoid gathering, vigils and body viewing. (Nxa kungabuthanangwa uMfundisi uzabakhona ngelanga lomgcwabo esebenza ngokunanzelela okukhulu). Sometimes it is in Unveiling Ceremonies where we get exposed to infections. Where possible let us refrain from gatherings.
- We encourage virtual means of sharing money and where this is unavoidable, extreme care should be taken to avoid transmission of the corona virus.
- Let us consider funeral ceremonies where there is no cooking this has a tendency to get people gathered with lowered masks.
- Regions and Local churches assist ministers with Personal protective Equipment (PPEs) during burials.
- That where a number of people is gathered for a funeral people seat outside while maintain a healthy social distance and avoid the shaking of hands.
- That families re-think the tradition where the chief mourner usually sits on the mattress in a room surrounded by relatives, hardly going out for fresh air.
- The virtual ministry must continue in all these situations notwithstanding that we normally do not connect online while in mourning. These must be done to offer continued pastoral care to the bereaved and also to connect the mourners with the church in worship.
May God bless you all.
Rev Dr Xolani Maseko ( Synod Secretary )
Rev Japhter Sibanda (Moderator )