Sat | Mar 28, 2020

COVID church closures not faithless – St James pastor

Published:Tuesday | March 24, 2020 | 12:28 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

The closure of church buildings across the island in the wake of the global outbreak of COVID-19 is not a demonstration of a lack of faith, says the Reverend Marc A. Mullings, pastor of the Emanuel Chapel Church in Mt Salem, St James.

With rising concern about the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has placed a suspension on mass public gatherings, with a maximum of 20 persons allowed to assembling for church services, funerals, and weddings.

That limit will fall to 10 effective March 25.

“The Church can never be closed; it’s the building that is closed,” said Mullings. “We can’t go to church [because] the Church is the people of God; it is the bride of Christ, the Ecclesia – the called-out ones.”

According to the pastor, who is a former policeman, the Church is a living organism that thrives through persecution and difficulties such as the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that the postponement of assemblies ought not to impede the work of Christians in teaching and preaching the Word of God, or preventing members from personal worship.

“Whether the people of God are gathered in one place or scattered in diverse places, God’s people are still the Church,” said Mullings, whose 15-year-old daughter survived a bullet wound sustained during an illegal New Year gun salute in Mt Salem. She was hit while standing in the churchyard.

“Closure of the building does not in any way, shape or form demonstrate a lack of faith. Rather, it demonstrates wisdom on the part of the undershepherds and obedience to the constituted authority, which God, our father, requires of His people,” he said.