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The Pandemic Sees South African Churchgoers Turn to Online Sermons

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Church Doors are Closed But Religious Hearts are Still Open

As South Africa undergoes its second wave of the covid-19 pandemic, many locals seek solace in their religious faith to cope during this unprecedented global health crisis that has seen the country lose almost 36,000 lives with reports of around 1.2 million confirmed cases- accounting for 30% of all cases on the African continent.

Jeanene Joy Matthyse, minister at the Calvin Protestant Church in Cape Town, recounts her recent experiences.

“The other day somebody said, will you send a message of hope to my brother in law who is fighting Covid in hospital and I did the voice recording and I got the response from the patient back saying Thank you because he could still at that point speak. So those are the moments we celebrate.”

Virtual Sermons Uphold Social Distancing

Many religious practitioners have found ways to navigate the coronavirus-prevention sanitary measures banning or limiting gatherings and closing places of worship.

Minister Matthyse explains that spiritual expression is not limited to a particular physical locale.

“The church is closed but the church can also move beyond this closed doors, that we are the church outside of the church. You know, we not restricted to a building. Wherever you are you are the church, whether you are walking in the street and you praying. You are the church. In your home, you are the church and you represent christ right there where you are.”

Hope in the Midst of a Second Wave

As President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in a televised address on Monday the order of 20 million coronavirus vaccine doses, many South Africans can remain prayerful about surmounting the pandemic.