COVID-19 among Latin American churches
A church in Nicarauga is grieving the death of two of its pastors, who are among more than 40 church leaders who have passed away since March.
Bethel Restoration Church in Managua, the Nicaraguan capital, lost two pastors to the coronavirus. “There was just so much misinformation,” said Raúl Valladares, whose father used to pastor the church. Mr Valladares took on leadership after his father and another pastor passed away.
When the COVID-19 virus arrived, Nicaragua’s government kept the country open and did not impose restrictions. Churches initially continued to meet, but in June Bethel closed its doors, following an advisory from the Assemblies of God Nicaragua Conference, the umbrella body to which it belongs. The church reopened on 2 August, this time with health restrictions in place.
According to the Nicaraguan Evangelical Alliance, at least 42 other pastors have died since March, although because of the lack of testing it can’t say whether COVID-19 was the cause of death for all of them. The Alliance represents most of the more than 100 Christian denominations in Nicaragua.
Although churches in Bolivia mostly closed with the lockdown, pastors kept reaching out to church members. “They went to pray, to visit the sick; in that work they died,” said pastor Luis Aruquipa of the National Christian Council. He told AP news that more than 100 evangelical pastors have died of the coronavirus.
COVID-19 has also plunged church leaders into financial difficulties. “Many pastors rely on tithing, financial contributions from church members, for their income and with churches closed, this suddenly stopped,” the spokesperson said. “We were able to help some of them and their families with financial aid and supplies.”
- Pray for the families of the church leaders who have passed away. Pray for comfort and peace in their grief.
- Pray for strength for the Latin American congregations, and that new pastors will capably lead the church.
- Pray for those who are seeking to support the church through healthcare, food, and other emergency relief.
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