Churches must be opened fully to fight coronavirus —Obialor

August 2, 2020
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Reverend Henry Obialor is the national director of Home Mission Foursquare Gospel Church. In this interview by ADEOLA OTEMADE, he speaks about the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the Church and how to curb the increasing rape cases in the country.

It is obvious that the coronavirus pandemic has crippled major activities that require physical gatherings in Christianity except for some states where the ban has been lifted, what is your take on this? 

We thank God for everything and the divine protection upon His people despite the impact of the pandemic. It is true that the Church has been affected greatly as a result of the pandemic, yet the work and service to God must continue. We cannot succumb to the works of the devil. God will definitely prevail and that is why the pandemic is being conquered gradually.

The Church as a body indeed felt the heat, especially with the suspension of major physical activities. We are not losing hope because God will so take preeminent control over this challenge. Though some states have lifted ban on religious gatherings and this has resuscitated the Gospel. A typical example was the recent installation of the new District General Overseer in Ibadan, Oyo State. We are confident that the Church will be fully back to life because we are not relenting in our prayers to cast out the pandemic. I want to use this opportunity to charge Christians at large to be positive-minded as God will eventually prevail over all troubling situations and challenges facing the Church. Meanwhile, this situation should not have a negative effect on our faith. Instead, we should always endeavour to join forces with the Church leadership to collectively fight the course.

It is no news that COVID-19 has affected lots of homes and as the national director for Home Mission of the Foursquare Gospel Church, what are the thoughts of the church’s leadership on how to navigate through this period successfully and what is your advice to the government and the body of Christ?

We have structures that we have put in place for over a year during this lockdown. We have reactivated these policies and the procedures such as home fellowship as well as a strong welfare setting. The leadership of the church directed that local churches should be involved in taking care of their members with palliatives which they have been doing faithfully. As the director for home missions, I have been receiving reports and updates of what churches are doing for their members, especially with the provision of food items and cash donations. At the national level also, we extended our support to the government. We are expecting the government to be true in the fight against the pandemic, we are also expecting them to put the right foot forward. We are passionate to join forces with the government in the fight against the pandemic and we are confident that we will overcome.

Importantly, there is the need for prayer, the more they lock down churches and prevent us from gathering together to pray, the more the devil oppresses and creates fear in the hearts of many. At this point in time, we need to gather in churches and raise concerted prayer to fight the ravaging pandemic. Forceful prayers are needed to overcome this pandemic and we want to believe that as churches are beginning to open, especially  in Oyo State, with concerted prayer we are hoping to see what will come out of Lagos and Ogun states. With concerted prayer and proper planning, we could see what we have here. All the parameters to checklist the COVID-19 are in place; social distancing, washing of hands, temperature gauge, usage of hand sanitizers and wearing of nose mask are being put to use in churches. This is to underscore that the church is law-abiding.  It is obvious that churches at large are adhering to government’s directives while we are not relenting in prayers among other things to fight the pandemic. I want to authoritatively tell you that the General Overseer, Reverend Samuel Aboyeji has declared that the pandemic is already tired and it will soon go completely and our lives will be back to normal.

 

The increasing cases of rape and defilement of minors have been on the increase in the country lately, how do you think we can go about dealing with this menace that seems to have burrowed deep into the society?

Proper teachings and family integration could be a better solution. The problem is not just starting today; it has been there for long. If there is a problem on the family front, there would be problem everywhere. If the father loves the mother and that same love is transferred to the children, there is no way the children would become nuisance to the society. It is because many family units have been broken, so parents have to go back to right teaching, training, educating and instilling the fear of God in their children. When Christ comes into the life of someone, it changes everything; it is as if the world wants to fight the problem at the wrong side. The bedrock of fighting this is going back and restoring the sanity in the family. But it still boils down to Christ being at the centre of one’s life.

 

How do you think this could be curbed?

Living a righteous life and having the fear of God. These change a lot of things. There are certain things you will not do because you know you are a child of God; I am not talking about going to church. If Christ is in the life of someone, it changes a lot in them. But because somebody out there does not know Christ, I am not saying he is not going to church, because they are two different things, you can be a church goer and still not know God. It is about a personal conviction that one has with Christ that changes everything about a man.

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