Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Amichi, His Lordship, Rt. Revd. Ephraim Okechukwu Ikeakor, has condemned clerics who shut doors of the church in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, wondering why shepherds would abandon their sheep at a critical period like this.
He said: “The sheep does not tend itself. How many pastors have visited their members in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak to see those who are sick and minister to them? We talk about family altars. How do couples that are not in talking terms pray in the face of the prevailing lockdown? Who ministers to them?”
He noted that the church is doing incalculable damage to itself, and the effect of damage on members will manifest after the pandemic has died down. Ikeakor maintained that pastors and clergymen are on essential duty, and should be acknowledged as such in the face of global crisis in the health sector.
“If the church closes in the time of trouble and disaster, where should the people run to,” he queried. “If health workers are out there saving lives, pastors and ministers of the gospel have no reason to lock themselves away from the people.”
He explained that the Church is the custodian of God’s promises and covenants to His people in time of trouble. Therefore, the Church should be bold enough to take its rightful position in giving hope to the world and mankind in a desperate time like this.
“The most appropriate time for the church to preach the gospel of Christ with power and authority to the world is now,” he said. The Bishop, who is presently leading his diocese in administering relief materials to the needy, urged pastors to rise to the present challenge of their ministry without fear, through trusting in the power of the Risen Lord, the Great Shepherd of the sheep.