Lutheran Church In Liberia To Continue ‘Nonphysical Contact’ Service
Monrovia – On May 8, President Weah proposed that Mosques, Churches and worship centers consider the resumption of worship beginning Friday, May 15 and Sunday, May 17, 2020, respectively. The recommendations from the President include limiting worship to 25 percent of the normal worshiping occupancy for each service, social distancing and other protocols such as the use of face masks, handwashing and all health protocols including all sick people (counting pastors, deacons/deaconesses, evangelists and all others) staying at home away from worship.
By: Bishop D. Jensen Seyenkulo, Presiding Bishop
In consultation with the Senior Pastors of the Monrovia District of the Lutheran Church in Liberia, I have come up with a plan for our Church. While we celebrate the government’s desire to encourage people to worship their Creator in their respective faith traditions, we are concerned that there is no indication that anyone has a control over the rapid spread of this deadly virus in this country. Our inability to control who shows up for worship on Sunday morning and our concern that coming together in large groups like Sunday worship could possibly affect the health of the people in our congregations and possibly the health of the entire nation, all lead us to want to walk cautiously.
The ministry of the Lutheran Church in Liberia is in three-fold: Preaching, Teaching and Healing. The Preaching part of our ministry (worship) recognizes the importance of applying healthy practices to ministry as we gather to worship.
As Bishop and Pastors, we recognize the desire for people of faith to gather together; we strongly desire that ourselves.
In our prayerful discernment of the will of God for our congregations and members in this difficult time, we have been led to the following decisions:
- Assemblies for worship, Bible Study, Prayer meetings, choir practices and all other large gatherings., will remain suspended for the next few Sundays (length of time for this suspension to be assessed weekly),
- The Lutheran Church in Liberia will continue to meet the needs of its members by the administration of Word and Sacrament through nonphysical contact medium, as we have done in the last few months over TRUTH FM (96.1) radio station and other radio stations around the country and social media. In addition, we ask that meetings, Bible studies and other gatherings be done by social media or in groups of no more than 10 people with a social distance of 6 feet between participants.
- The Senior pastors and I will continue to meet weekly to assess the situation – relying on the advice of the health experts in determining what constitutes a safe and healthy worship environment. We will update our church leaders and members on a weekly basis.
- Local congregation leaders and pastors will continue to provide for their members: pastoral care, education, Bible study, funerals and other gatherings in health-appropriate ways, including limiting numbers of people to no more than 10 people at a time, social distancing of 6 feet, wearing of masks, and handwashing.
We, the people of God who call ourselves Lutherans, find that we are going through a wilderness experience. As we walk together in this time, we walk, not alone but with and in the presence of our Lord, Jesus Christ! Lastly, I invite you to stay in prayer with us and to know that we (the pastors and I) are praying for you.
God bless you; God bless the Lutheran Church in Liberia and God bless our nation, Liberia!
D. Jensen Seyenkulo
Bishop, Lutheran Church in Liberia