The coronavirus pandemic, also known as COVID-19, has impacted religious groups in various ways, including the Synagogue, Church of All Nations, (SCOAN). The cancellation of the worship services, the closure of various programmes in the Church such as the opportunity to partake in Living Water Services, taking part and be prayed for on the prayer line, pilgrimages to SCOAN, and all others, have impacted mainly on the affected individuals and the Church. Although SCOAN has been offering worship through Emmanuel.TV studio amidst the pandemic such cannot replace live services and where fellowship, healing and deliverance taking place with testimonies.
The SCOAN and Emmanuel.TV Partners Relief Wings across the globe have been busy dispatching various relief materials including cash and food to some affected areas. This is commendable, as it was in the days of Apostle Stephen that was stoned. It would be recalled however that Prophet TB Joshua has been for many years sounding the warnings, of this coming dooms, in various ways and at different times; Whether the Church had listened or not, whether the warnings were enough or not, the prophet did his part. The prophecy is probably the most significant impacting contribution the church can make to a society bent on going opposite God’s way. Just as someone who always see I watching Emmanuel.TV said to me, “Prof. I like SCOAN Choir because they can sing and dance. I also like the giving of charity and the prophecy of TB Joshua but I am not comfortable with the man himself, I fear him”. SCOAN is a total package, offering Total Christian Living, with or without a pandemic era. One cannot like the birth of Jesus because of Christmas Carols and the giving on Boxing Day without the Crucifixion, the Resurrection of Jesus and His Ascension.
Hence the impact of SCOAN to society is felt more in service cancellation, because of its various benefit components to people, and lack of pilgrims coming to Nigeria. The prophet has already said it that Airline Business will be affected more, especially in places like Nigeria, post COVID-19 pandemic. Unless the Church continues to pray the various World Governments are not going to be in a hurry to allow the Church they didn’t want to re-open. Most governments see the Church of Christ as in the days of John the Baptist. The COVID-19 episode will be their license to deal with the Church and yet many people need healing, physically and spiritually, beyond just COVID-19. In fact, the Church could handle the pandemic it has prophesied about better than politicians who seemingly have walked blindly into the pandemic. The prophet who sees a coming doom is better prepared to handle the case than a king who simply wishes to avoid a war with coronavirus. Whilst governments are considering partial reopening of business centres that have come to mean so much to them they should see worship centres as places where citizens, traumatized or not, can get inspiration and encouragement to bounce back on their health or economies. The Church is the foundation of any successful and thriving society on moral and human rights. Any organization may give relief materials but the Church is the bedrock and succour to every community citizen. The coming post COVID-19 “Economic Pandemic” would need the Church of Christ to prepare people, encouraging them to stand on their two feet and follow Christ to walk.
Prof. R. A. Ipinyomi, University of Ilorin, Nigeria