It is now almost a year since the country reported its first of the Coronavirus back in March 2020.

Since then, preventive measures were put in place to contain the pandemic including the closure of worship places.

Fortunately, a cabinet meeting held on Friday, February 19 resolved that eligible places of worship will reopen, after almost a month of closure.

Government, however only allowed them to host only 30 per cent of their congregations for the mean time.

The Gospel Time Website talked to some church leaders to find out how they are helping their members during this hard time.

Pastor Olivier Ndizeye of Zion Temple Ntarama said that online platforms have been useful to connect people to praise God, when churches were closed.

“Obviously, fellowship is made by meeting frequently. In our culture, we were used to face-to-face meetings where we could even greet each other with holy hugs mentioned by Paul the Apostle. However, when the pandemic prevention measures came up, we started to use online meetings.”

“I have used WhatsApp groups and phone calls to reach out to our members. For those who do not have smart phones, I made a time table of calling them with a normal phone-call. I would call at least 3 people per day and use a conferencing call to ensure none is left behind,” he added.

Ndizeye notes that Christians have adapted to the situation, though there are challenges of affordability of technologies for some churches, for example those in rural areas.

For Pastor M. Godwin of New Jerusalem Church, Kicukiro, the closure of places of worship assisted Christians to have a clear understanding that the Church of Jesus is not a building, but it is our hearts.

“We are the Church; we move and live for Christ not for Building,” he said

He quoted John 4:23-24

“A time will come , however, indeed it is already here, when the true (genuine) worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and Truth (reality); for the Father is seeking just such people as these as His worshippers. God is a Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and Truth.”

Godwin said his church has been using social media platforms like Whatsapp, Facebook and YouTube among others to conduct online prayer and devotion.

On a personal note, he said:

“Personally, I tried to be consistent in reading the Word of God and Prayer. I established a prayer altar at home with my family,” he said.