COVID-19: Tanzanian bishop urges church, leaders, to take precautions

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COVID-19: Tanzanian bishop urges church, leaders, to take precautions(LWI) - The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) Presiding Bishop Dr Fredrick O. Shoo has issued a statement encouraging local church leaders to fully participate in educating the church and communities on necessary precautions to curb the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the country. The bishop urged people to follow the instructions of health care specialists in order to stay safe.

Referencing Hosea 4:6 “In order that they do not perish,” the presiding bishop wrote that “the virus has completely changed our way of living in Tanzania and worldwide, hence it is vital that we take precautions” and educate the people.

The Tanzanian church has already taken several steps to ensure health and safety. This includes reducing the number of meetings and safaris and putting in place measures to protect Sunday school children from the pandemic. Health care advice, such as wearing masks, physical distancing and hand-washing, is also followed rigorously.

Emphasizing education as a key component in preventing infection Shoo wrote, “those who have been given the mandate by God to shepherd and lead the people of God,” have a responsibility to “ensure the people of God get enough knowledge on how to combat the virus.”

“Tanzania is not a country outside the world,” the bishop wrote and asked church leaders to come together during the pandemic and help people in taking all necessary actions to protect themselves from contracting the virus, which will stop the spread.

Bishop Shoo added that to take precautions is an act of accountability. “It is not against faith, it is not a sin, and it is not a crime to protect oneself from the virus,” wrote Shoo adding that "and not taking precautions” would be like “trying God over the pandemic.”

By ELCT/Erick Adolph. Edited by LWF/A.Gray