The General Superintendent of the Assembly of God Liberia Inc. and Senior Pastor, First A. G. Church Rev. Dr. Edwin A. Gbelly, hails the Government of Liberia (GOL) for re-opening churches in the country with a 25 percent ceiling congregation attendance in a service. Speaking to reporters at his office on Buchanan Street in Monrovia, Rev. Dr. Gbelly said based on the government pronouncement, he and the church’s board met on 13 May to strategize and discuss the best way to spiritually adhere to the 25 percent restriction.
He says the church would do everything humanely possible to reduce various activities associated with its regular worship services to afford members enough space to return to their respective destinations before the government’s 3:00 PM deadline for people to be at home.
Dr. Gbelly discloses that the church will conduct two services by reducing time for praise and worship, announcement, offertory and sermon, among others to end service at the most convenient time possible.
However, he differs with some of his colleagues, who refused to obey the restriction on religious activities, terming their decision as gross disrespect to God, noting that God, who made government, declares in the Holy Bible that the government is next to Him.
He adds that for any religious leader to speak against the mandate of the government is tantamount to disobeying God, who calls such servants into His ministry.
The First Assembly of God Church has over 500 members, including its Children Ministry.
Dr. Gbelly underscores that the church has a duty to, at all time, set good moral standards to those its leads, rather than making utterances that defy the government, under whose leadership it exists as a church.
He vows to communicate with his entire membership through radio and social media to update them on decisions reached by the church’s board relating to resumption of worship services.
Meanwhile, in an effort to show gratitude to faithful and vulnerable members of his congregation for their good services to the work of God, the church has distributed assorted food items including rice and sardines to its members.The exercise is the second food distribution since the lockdown and State of Emergency declared by the government.
One month and 14 days into the State of Emergency and lockdown, President George Manneh Weah ordered re-opening of Churches and Mosques, including other worship centers, but with a restriction of only 25 percent of the total membership at a worship in observance of social distancing, as required by health regulations.
The President’s decision followed appeal from religious leaders here, for the resumption of worship to seek God’s intervention in the COVID-19 pandemic. Editing by Jonathan Browne