faith_in_action

United Methodists around the world respond to COVID-19

We asked United Methodists from around the world share how they are experiencing and responding to COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.


COVID-19 Nigeria cartoon

Norway:

“Norway started a lockdown a week and a half ago and a handful of people are sick in my congregation but not hospitalized, and some pupils in schools are affected but not hospitalized. We have a few hundred in hospital, and half of them are in Oslo. Around 3,000 have tested positive, but a lot of more people than that are positive and sick. When people are sick but doing fine, they are just told to stay home and assume it is coronavirus. We test a lot, but mainly on health care staff and the vulnerable groups. … Our prime minister held a press conference for children. That was amazing. She and two other politicians told children about the virus, and then used one our congregation’s children to respond to questions children had sent in the day before. That is good leadership.”

Germany:

“Life has changed very much in Germany. … As churches we stopped all our group activities, meetings and worship services. My colleagues and I called our 80+ to see whether anybody needs support, but they are very well cared for by their families. We send a video message on Sundays (in German). The numbers of Covid-19 infections in Germany is still increasing. Officially, our church shutdown is estimated to end on April 11 (Saturday before Easter). But it is not very likely, that church life can restart by this date. It would be very much a symbolic act for the church to awake from sleep on Easter morning, but it would be a great miracle, if this really happened …”

Liberia:

“I am in Liberia and we have 3 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of March 20, and the government of Liberia has not really put into place robust measures to stop the spread of the virus. Especially with the kind of weak health care services that we have here. We are living in total fear right now, my friend. The Conference has established a task force to educate community by community as with Ebola.”

Democratic Republic of Congo:

“We are trying to observer hygienic rules and people staying at home. No public meetings, classes and churches meeting for four weeks. We have 14 cases in Kinshasa and one death today in the DRC. No food or money. Two people have been diagnosed positive in Lubumbashi at the airport. They were coming from Kinshasa. And I have just heard that a South African who is an employee of a mining company here in Kolwezi and who arrived on March 16 from South Africa was found dead. People are being found dead after they have lived with the disease.”

Zimbabwe:

“For some they are viewing it as a punishment from God and the ZANUPF political party is viewing Covid-19 as God punishing the West for sanctions against Zimbabwe. The West is to blame. But the government has established a team of doctors who are producing a plan to respond to the pandemic. It is not yet clear but one victim died yesterday. He is a member of the Cabinet Minister. We are just taking care of ourselves but it isn’t easy as we never know who has it and who doesn’t have it. Congregations fear each other.”

Angola:

“Two cases of the coronavirus have been found. We are told to wait five days and then the government will tell us what to do. But people are afraid.”

Nigeria:

“The cartoon (above) shows how people who live in the city are saying stamp the virus out and run back to the villages—the cause of the virus are the people in cities! People blame the virus on other people’s sins and pray to God for deliverance. So, they gather and don’t practice social distancing to pray for healing.”