COVID-19 Update (20 March)

The Continuing Communion has been receiving updates from several of our dioceses and partners, which we will share here for your information and to facilitate your prayers. All of you are invited to join into our CEEC.CHURCH MOMENTUM group on WhatsApp, where we have an active prayer chain

Click HERE to join the CEEC.CHURCH MOMENTUM Prayer Group on WhatsApp.

Bishop Daniel A.M. Ghansa oversees the Missionary Diocese of Ghana and Togo. He reports that the borders of the country have been closed. He also was able to share the GOOD NEWS that Bishop Ebenezer Ayisi’s wife delivered a nice baby girl on Wednesday. Congratulations to the Ayisi family on their new addition.

Deacon Aaron Eime serves as Deacon of Christ Church in Jerusalem. He reports that the virus has the nation of Israel on lock down, and that the streets (including the Old City of Jerusalem) are essentially empty. He and his wife Michelle are sheltering some of the volunteers from Christ Church in their home. Normal services are not taking place due to the lock down, and they are looking to begin offering their weekly Bible studies online.

Bishop Yepeta Nathan Sika leads the Diocese of South Sudan. He writes to express their concerns  for one another during this very important point of time when the whole world is under the threat of the pandemic of the Corona virus. Today the government has closed all institutions of education from pre-school through university for the next 30 days. They have also ordered the suspension of all religious events, including weddings and funerals for the next six weeks. For our brothers and sisters in South Sudan, the issue is worsened by the food crisis caused by their civil war.

He says, “If businesses in South Sudan also close down, the number of people  who are likely to die from hunger would be greater than from the Corona virus cases. We need prayers — and more specifically for those in the Refugee Camps.”

Bishop George Odhiambo from the Diocese of Kenya reports that the initial cases of Corona Virus have been reported and that Kenya has suspended travel from any country with reported COVID-19 cases. Kenyan citizens and any foreigners with valid residence permits are being allowed to enter, but are required to self-quarantine.

Our Bishop who leads the Diocese of Jordan and Israel (name withheld for security purposes) has reported the following: “A state of emergency has been declared, and we cannot move from city to another city. Emergency clinics for each city were opened, and all public transportation was banned. Now I also can’t leave the city where he is based for at least two weeks from dawn tomorrow. ”

“My team has convened an emergency meeting and went out to the town to buy the our food.
The bakery is already out of control for those who want to buy bread, and there are some items still available in the supermarket. The darkness that is just like the eve of the war flows through the city. Still, we will win generously because there is a promise from the Lord that will deliver us from trouble. Pray for us. Shalom in Jesus Christ.”

Pastor Elijah Bwogi, one of our partners in Uganda, reports that all churches and schools have been closed for 30 days. Also, the Continuing Communion has four refugee-camp-based churches in Uganda, and we have not been able to get direct updates from them as of yet.

Archbishop Alfred Ayuk, whose archdiocese in Cameroon is establishing an inter-communion relationship with the Continuing Communion, reports all land, air, and sea borders closed, all schools closed, passenger flights suspended and a prohibition on gatherings of more than 50 persons.

In Pakistan, Bishop Hizkiel Bhatti and our churches are operating under restrictions. Pakistan has shut all its land borders and limited international flights are only running out of the three largest international airports. Infections at the Taftan Quarantine Camp (near the Pakistani-Iranian border) are spiking.

Our churches in the United States are all affected by the government quarantine and social-distancing regularions. Bishop Jarod Cruthis from the Diocese of St. James the Greater in North Carolina reports that a six-week restriction from operating on the military base where he serves, and that the city where he resides in on quarantine. Bishop Misael Carmenates from the Benedictine Monastery and Order in Miami reports that they continue to cook and deliver food to the homeless population, and are having a retreat inside the monastery to pray for greater strength, and protection from infection.

Bishop Stephen Kwabla Gbeve who serves in Togo as part of the Missionary Diocese of Ghana & Togo reports that the government of Togo has just released a communication prohibiting places of worship from gathering. Also schools and universities closed. He reports that beaches and markets are also affected. Only 15 people are allowed at burial services until further orders because of corona virus issues.

I’m sure there are many, many additional updates and stories to be shared. If you have an update to share about how you and your congregations are managing through the crisis, feel free to POST THEM HERE and we will share them as we are able.

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