TEASA COVID-19 Response
The Goal: To contribute positively, from the vintage point of our faith, to the national effort to fight the spread and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic, as well as mitigate its socio economic and spiritual impact on vulnerable communities.
Strategy: To collaborate with the South African Council of churches (SACC) for the furtherance of effective joint action in communities as well as joint advocacy to government and other stake holders on matters of common concern pertaining to the fight against COVID 19.
Our action plan and work in progress
|Government liaison||Several high level meetings were had between Church leaders of all major church formations with the State President and his cabinet colleagues regarding the national effort against the pandemic. This led to a partnership between Churches and government to address all matters regarding the pandemic, including Communication, relief, security – especially as regards GBV in condition of Lockdown – as well as the facilitation of a national day of prayer. Matters where Lockdown regulations affected Churches were also discussed in ways that sought to balance the risk of infection with church ministry effectiveness.|
(TEASA –SACC collaboration)
|The pandemic offered and opportunity of more ecumenical collaboration at both national and local levels. Churches who have not had much dealings with each other at community level found themselves thrown together in local action networks in the service of their communities in distress. Let us pray that a post-Covid 19 era will see greater understanding and unity among churches.|
|Church Mobilisation||It is has been relatively easy to mobilise our TEASA national denominations to participate in the national effort against COVID 19. Virtually all TEASA members have agreed to participate. The challenge however, is in mobilising local churches on the ground, some of whom appear to have other priorities unrelated to the national agenda. To awaken a sense of holistic mission is work in progress. Thankfully there are other TEASA churches who readily embrace holistic missions and see the Pandemic as a missional opportunity.|
|Messaging and communication:||The Pandemic has also spawned a lot of fake news and unnecessary fear mongering, making the development of reliable and rapid communication vital. Different Christian NGO allies with suitable capabilities in IT (The Ware house) Communication (Heartlines) and disaster relief joined the Churches COVID 19 response. See for example the website set up specifically to make important and relevant information to churches available. Churchinaction.org.za.|
|Economic vulnerability and Food security.||The sudden onset of the Pandemic found a South African society already riven in socioeconomic inequality, unprepared. Millions who live on the poverty line and already reliant on State on social grants, found themselves falling deeper into poverty. Small businesses also suffered. People depending on day jobs lost income as the Lockdown rolled on. The churches have sprung into action assisting the vulnerable, often from their own resources or in partnership with other social actors such as business and NGOS. Government also recently announced a package of financial aid to support vulnerable communities. It is part of the role of the churches to help identify the destitute and assist them to access government food security relief.|
|Prayer campaign||A strong pillar that is part of our Christian arsenal for fighting the Pandemic is Prayer. Several prayer campaigns, including 24/7 prayer and intercession have been done, and some are in progress. See https://youtu.be/K1yrVVEn_p0|
|Technology and equipping.||There has been a lack of preparedness among TEASA member churches in the use of technology to enhance ministry. TEASA recently put out a survey to discover what assistance churches would require to use technology effectively, and will be doing an online webinar to train pastors.