Mixed Reactions from Churches as GoL Relaxes Restrictions on Religious Gatherings

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Rev. Dr. Samuel B. Reeves, Jr. Senior Pastor, Providence Baptist Church

The decision by the Government of Liberia to extend the State of Emergency while, in the same breath, slightly relaxing restrictions against religious gatherings has received mixed reactions across the religious sector. Some churches embrace the permission to hold smaller than normal religious gatherings and some others are rather lukewarm about the pronouncement. Few others, however, have issued a “thanks, but no thanks” to the government, citing the increase in the number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in the country.

“Providence wishes to state that in view of the growing escalation in the number of cases and the seeming lack of control of this Coronavirus pandemic by our Heath system, we will continue to suspend all mass gathering to include all Worship Services, Bible Studies, Prayer Meetings, Weddings, Funerals, Choir Rehearsals, among others. Should things change and improve, we will notify you accordingly for the resumption of fellowship.”

“Remember, we missed you and we are PRAYING for YOUR SAFETY and partnering with GOD to help provide your needs in these difficult times,” said Rev. Samuel B. Reeves, Jr., Senior Pastor of Providence Baptist Church, in a WhatsApp chat statement to his congregation. “In God’s own time He will bring us through this with a testimony.”

Providence Baptist maintains that it will continue to provide you a full weekly digital service, including a weekly Facebook Ministry and regular radio and TV broadcasts. According to Rev. Reeves, the Church will continue to pray for and support the efforts of the Ministry of Health and the NPHIL in promoting and maintaining social distancing to limit the further spread of the virus.

“Providence Baptist Church remains prayerful and hopeful that the Government and Health authorities can get ahead of the virus by ramping up testing, tracing, isolating, and treatment,” it added.

In a statement appearing to be in concurrence with Providence Baptist, Bishop Jensen Seyenkulo of the Lutheran Church in Liberia reacted to the government’s relaxation as good, although he believes having a consultation with the health authorities will build more confidence than statements from politicians.

Bishop Seyenkulo, whose church was one of the first to decide on disassembling his congregation because of the virus, told the Daily Observer via telephone interview that it is better the experts provide the advice and, based on advice that will be provided by the Ministry of Health and the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), he will regather his congregation.

“I respect the Baptists for their view, and I want to go back to work to gather my congregation, but it is better I do this in line with expert advice.  The government’s relaxation is not bad though, it is good that we get advice from the experts,” Bishop Seyenkulo said.

Reverend G. Larque Vaye of the Calvary Baptist Church in reaction to the relaxation also said:  “We had about 10 cases of the Coronavirus and churches were asked to close.  Why will we be in 200 plus and churches are asked to reopen?  I am also of the opinion that if churches would recommence congregational gathering, it should be done with advice from health authorities.”

He, however, said he has thrown the concern out to his members on their WhatsApp group chat for their views, and during the week he will meet with health experts of his church to discuss whether or not to recommence church services.

However, there are still other dissenting views to the providence Baptist’s view.  For Reverend Eleazar Gbengan of the Evangelical Christian Assembly (ECA) in Ganta, Nimba County, he believes the church is very essential in controlling a large segment of members of the society, and therefore relaxing the restriction on gathering in the church is a “Good move.”

According to Reverend Gbengan, church leaders can help to inform their members during congregational gathering on policy issues emanating from the government, and therefore opening churches is a good idea.  On the critical side, where some claim the suspension of churches is drying out the financial baskets of churches as tithe and offering are either slow or not coming in at all, Reverend Gbengan said:  “If it is about tithes and offering then the church should not open, because the church is more than the tithes and offerings.”

Reverend John Baryogar of the Bethel World Cathedral and President of the Christian Community in Ganta also believes that reopening churches is in the positive direction on grounds that Christians who still need the spiritual food will come to get it and grow, and that leaders of churches will help the government to disseminate messages about the pandemic, as awareness and sensitization remain poor in communities.

He contended that while churches are shut down to promote social distancing, marketplaces remain active with people coming close together to transact business. However some critics contend that there is no comparison between the two as any individual can meet God in the privacy of his home but cannot to the contrary meet marketers in his home to shop. And this is why they believe that the ban on assemblies should hold until otherwise given the greenlight by Health authorities.

14 COMMENTS

  1. President Weah can’t win by losing. Few weeks ago the churches were protesting and petitioning the government for religious freedom. Many wanted to pray this virus away. Now that President has given you the authority to do so, you are complaining.

    • Here comes this other drunk of Minnesota and New Jersey – Samuel B. Reeves pretending to be a pastor. When he heard about money, like many of his fellow money hustlers, he deserted and abandoned the Church and wanted to be VP in politics.

      I really do not know why Mill Jones could think as one not seeing beyond their nose. How on earth could voters vote for you with a running mate whom they do not know nor have hardly heard about?

      You were been naive, Mill, to think that because he was or is some pastor, and you went using state funds to run your campaign, the voters would have fallen for your manipulation!

      Besides, most of us here in the US and at home who knows that drunk -Sam Reeves told voters he is a drunk; and they should not notice him. He wants to criticize others when he is a damn drunkard!

  2. I would like to congratulate the Senior Pastor of Providence Baptist Church for his farsightedness in the issue of reopening the Doors of the Church. He had the first vision to suspend regular Church Services in the beginning after observing the underlying problems of this coronavirus. He has a large congregation and so many activities going on at the Church. It is in the best interest of the members of the Church to not congregate and he has called on all Liberians to exercise extreme caution as they go out for only the necessities. This Covid-19 is not a joke. Liberians in the United States are dying in large numbers because of our attitude that “things are not that bad.” This disease does not discriminate against color, age or social standing. It has attacked Presidents, Royals, rich people, old people, even babies. God lives in us through the Holy Spirit. Let us worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

  3. Beliefs and Solution.

    My People, my Liberian People….God does not have earthly address. The God I know can be served from anywhere and anytime. Moreover, only a living human can serve God. When one dies, his/ her prayer ends. Religious gatherings and other social activities that draw massive crowd must give way to the reasoning of Science until the world can get over with this Pandemic. The only thing one needs to get to heaven is through praying to God. Which does not require massive crow, any way.

    Even those that brought these religions to us, are massively quarantining themselves. The birth place of Jesus Christ is now like a ghost town in Palestine -Israel (Nazareth). A blind man can run through the street of Mecca, Saudi Arabia today without running into anyone. Let’s air on the side of the Science for solution. Let’s look at the Asians, many of the world best scientists and doctors today are from Asians countries: China, India, Malaysia, Korea ,etc. Today there is a race against time to develop COVID-19 Vaccine in 108 places around the Globe excluding Sub-Saharan Africa. We have more pastors and other religious leaders todays in Sub-Saharan Africa than any parts of the Globe, yet we are the poorest and backward.

    Hats off to any religious leader who tells his congregation to stay home until this whole Pandemic pass over us. I respect religious leaders, they are the pillars of society. There comes a time reasoning has to take the lead. This is the time.

    Let this reminds all Liberians of the case between the Catholic Church and the famous Renaissance Scientist Galileo Galilei. Galileo was hated by the Church for publishing a paper called Heliocentrism (the idea that the earth and other planets revolve around the Sun). The idea was not well received by the Church. People called him all sorts of names. Today, 410 years later, Catholic priests are flying planes around the world due to his theories.

    Our beliefs must reap solution for us. As we are praying, we should be engaging in activities that will help us move forward. Building Institutions that will train the minds of young Liberians.
    Let God bless us all, and peace.

    Mamadu S. Bah (N/P) Nurse Practitioner, Meridian Health
    Sydney. .

  4. If you know God you will not seek the advice of health workers before Churches can open or not. If you are a proper child of God you will not fear death unlike when you are sinner. The Bible says “God can not hear sinner’s prayers only those who obey him he hears” ( St John 9:31, Isaiah 59:1-3, Proverbs 15:29 etc.) Don’t you think ordinary washing hands, covering your mouth with piece of clothe, and doing so-called social distancing can saved you from Coronavirus? No, none of these mandate can saved you from Coronavirus virus. In fact, the meaning of washing your hands spiritually means that you should repent from sinning with your hands by uncovering next man’s wife nakedness, stop writing false bills, stop killing innocent souls, etc; than, the meaning of covering your mouth: stop using your mouth to abuse, stop kissing next man’s wife or husband, stop lying, gossiping etc.; and the so-called social distancing means repent from the evil you are doing by following evil friends, worldliness, etc. Those are what we need to do to be saved from this virus. Hold God by his word which he says in time of trouble called upon him then you will see what he can do. The Bible also says “My hands are not short that I can not save you but your sins have separated you from me” ( Isaiah 59:1-3). Don’t also compare market places with God’s Church. The food and the stomach are passing bye. The Bible says ” don’t give up in meeting together as others are doing” ( Heb. 10: 25). If you are not going to church you are committing sin. The church should be the last place to be closed. The only way Coronavirus virus will penetrate a particular church congregation and success is the church is dead which means those in leadership there a committing sins. So, presence of JESUS CHRIST is no longer there. In fact, those pastors who are saying Churches should don’t know the God who they claimed to serve. If they can repent the wrath of God is coming upon them. Those are the pastors who give false hope to their members that they will rise and shine without first of all telling them to repent from sin. People in those Churches are following those pastors sleeplessly and matching to hell fire. They should be the ones to guide who are not spiritually strong enough but instead they are leading them astray every day. Olden days Christians met and pray when there were troubles. Why can not do the same today? On the over all, this is one of the signs of the coming of Jesus Christ. So, repent from your sins. The Bible says we should be on our alert as He will come like a thief while people will be eating and drinking, fornicating, practicing adultery, into worldliness, etc. then the day will catch them unaware. Don’t mind those false pastors who only cares for your tithes and offerings. Repent messages are what you need. The Bible says the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven…. I Corinthians 6:9-. Let God opens your eyes to the true my brothers and sisters on this platform.

    • Look you SATAN ON PULPIT – Bill Tuesday Kollie, this assertion of yours infra, proves, you are really A BLIND LEADING THE BLIND if you are actually a pastor of a church:

      “If you know God you will not seek the advice of health workers before Churches can open or not. If you are a proper child of God you will not fear death unlike when you are sinner. The Bible says “God can not hear sinner’s prayers only those who obey him he hears” ( St John 9:31, Isaiah 59:1-3, Proverbs 15:29 etc.)”

      You rascals would go and establish these things you call churches for your survival when you are so chronically ignorant to the doctrines of the Bible! My God!!!

      You need to go back and study your theological homilectics or your biblical exegesis so as to halt you deceiving yourself unintentionally but ignorantly!

      If what you claim about “not seeking advise from health workers” made any sense or near religious or biblical teachings, then why would the very God, His messengers, and His prophets, minister about and honor vocations or callings.

      If what you are ranting about “God not hearing sinners prayers”, why would the very Bible say “All have sinned”, or why would Christ say he came for sinners. Or why was DAVIDŚ PRAYERS heard by God and accepted all the time, amid the abundance of sins of DAVID?

      Or why was Jonahś prayers answered, or the Israelites prayers heard and answered by God? Or why are the payers of the people in your church heard and answered by God amid the fact they are all sinners?

      When you rascals eat your stomach filled and having collected enough offerings and tithes from the poor, you go to them to spread your stupidity; since in reality, you are simply false pastors masquerading as men of God! But in reality, you are absolutely demons on pulpit!

  5. Let me correct few words in the above post, I meant to say those in leadership are committing sins; the presence of Jesus Christ is not there; those pastors Who are saying Churches shouldn’t be opened; If they can not repent the wrath of God will come upon them; repentance messages are what you need;

    • Good morning my brother, may God bless first of all for your willingness to join God’s church which I am one of the pastors. However, the church is located in Gbarnga in the Cotton tree community and also in Konia Lofa County. The name of the church is Transformed Christian Life Bible Church (TCLBC) Roman 12:2. Thanks my brother may God bless you as of today as you have make up your mind to come over to Him. Here are my contacts: 0770475539/0886613609

  6. The Psychology of Prayer

    Praying without practically putting it in motion is making mockery of God’s word. Sub-Saharan Africa is praying without practicality. You cannot pray and go to sleep and expect things to be right. You can quote the entire Bible, if you not doing the right thing, I m sorry. That’s the reason we are the least in the world. We have all the rich minerals resources, but yet, we remain poor. Others who do not have a quarters of what we have, we are at their door begging them time and time again. We are fighting to go America, Europe, China Australia etc. Can’t we see how they came of age? Religious zealously will only make us most radical and increase the already fundamentalist mentality some of us holding onto.

    Let’s pray, but not forget to put our prayers in practice. Example, a student praying to pass an exam, should be praying and studying at the same time. Jesus himself was a practical man. His 3 years evangelizing on earth galvanized followers. He walked between towns , villages, cities etc. Most of his followers today are gear towards enriching themselves. One cannot sleeps and expect things to get better in his/her life. We should be praying and building advance institutions, qualify colleges for our youths to meet the demand for tomorrow’s world. If not, the Chinese will always come to build our bridges, airports, roads. The IMF will always give us predatory loans, that will keep us in indebted to them. So, my people let’s pray and keep our eyes wide open so we can make our home good. We cannot be running going to others.

    Mamadu S, Bah . Meridian Health

  7. My brother read my post and comprehend very well. Don’t think about riches. Most of these riches are from Satan. This is something you need to know as a child of God. The losts of this world are passing bye. Think about riches in heaven but not here.

  8. Bill Tuesday Kollie, you claiming to be pastor, you are damn stupid and ignorant when you display such reckless nonsense as:

    “The only way Coronavirus virus will penetrate a particular church congregation and success is the church is dead which means those in leadership there a committing sins.” REALLY? YOU ARE A CHRONIC BIG FOOL! I will not even waste my time with such as you.

    You check this fool out, he has never ever attended any REAL religious or Bible institution of higher learning!

  9. Man, you Bill Tuesday Kollie, shut-up your silly mouth! It is you who God should have mercy upon for using his name in vain for your selfish desires, while misleading to their detriment, those who wrongly believe you are some pastor; when the truth is that you are simply a foolish, hypocritical, and ignorant personification of a demon.

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