CHURCH AND COVID-19 CONFERENCE – 12TH AUGUST 2020
August 10, 2020
Theme: Troubled, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4: 8 – 9)
The announcement that a patient had tested positive for Covid-19 in Kenya on March 12, 2020 threw the country into panic and elicited a flurry of response and control measures. A notable measure announced by the President on March 15 was the suspension of religious gatherings, which impacted heavily on the capacity of churches to carry out ministry as usual. Subsequently, there were mixed reactions by clergy and laity across the country, and on June 6, 2020, the President announced the formation of the Inter Faith Council for the National Response to the COVID 19 Pandemic to develop guidelines for re-opening of places of worship. The Council on July 7, 2020 announced a four-phased plan for re-opening places of worship. However, the projections based on models developed by experts indicate that the Covid-19 challenge will remain in the country for much longer.
As at August 2, 2020, Kenya had registered 22,053 Covid-19 cases, 369 deaths and 8,477 recoveries. Kenya has seen a surge in cases of new infections and it is not clear when the situation will improve to allow for normal church services to resume.
In this regard, the NCCK proposes to host the Church and Covid-19 Conference as a strategy to discuss the impact of the pandemic on the church.
- Proposed Conference
The NCCK proposes to host, on virtual platforms, a nation-wide Church and Covid-19 Conference. Participants will be able to join the Conference from their current locations using Zoom, Facebook or Youtube.
The theme of the Conference is “Troubled, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4: 8 – 9)”. It is based on the scripture that reads: “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed”.
- Date / Time
The Conference is scheduled to be held on Wednesday August 12, 2020 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.
Participants, especially church leaders, will join via Zoom. This will enable them to make verbal and written contributions during the Conference.
In addition, the Conference will be streamed live on the NCCK Facebook and Youtube channels. Participants who will follow the proceedings on these platforms will contribute to the proceedings through chat and comments.
The NCCK is targeting to reach about 1,000 church leaders; at least 30 church leaders from every County in Kenya. The Conference will also have the members of NCCK governance organs (Heads of Member Churches, members of the Executive Committee, the Regional Committees and the County Coordinating Committees). In addition, the NCCK is seeking to reach the entire church in Kenya and beyond by making the Conference accessible through the livestream channels.
The objectives of the Conference are:
- To analyze the impact of Covid-19 of the Church in Kenya
- To equip church leaders with tools for church and family ministry during and after the Covid-19 Pandemic
- To explain the role of church leaders in positively influencing the social-political developments in Kenya
- To equip church leaders with information on the Referendum Bills and proposed national reforms
- To highlight gender perspectives that must be safeguarded in the ongoing discourse and processes
- Topics in the Conference
To enable the Church and Covid-19 Conference achieve its objectives, discussions will be focused on five main topic / thrusts:
- The Impact of Covid-19 on the Church
How has Covid-19 impacted the church globally and in Kenya? What does this mean to the undertaking of The Great Commission in the country? What coping mechanisms can the churches in Kenya adopt to remain focused and effective on accomplishing The Great Commission?
- The impact of Covid-19 on the Family
How has Covid-19 impacted the family institution in the country? How about among worshippers in our churches and among the clergy? What coping mechanisms can the church promote among the families for them to cope with the changed circumstances?
- The Church in Post-Covid-19 Era
How will the work and character of the church be transformed by the Covid-19 dispensation? What adaptation measures and character changes are required for the church to be ready for the Post Covid-19 world? Will ministry shift to the virtual platform?
- The Role of Religious Institutions in Kenya’s Current Political Scenario
The political scenario in Kenya is rapidly evolving as actors endeavor to execute their mandates and position themselves for the 2022 elections. What does this portend for the country? What role should the church play in this scenario to safeguard peace and national cohesion? Concerns include the injustice that witnessed when Parliament allocated former MP’s lavish retirement packages at a time when civil servants and private sector workers are suffering job losses and salary cuts; The economic frustration across the country; and ethnic tensions and flareups in some parts of the country. These are a recipe for disaster by 2022 which is the peak of our election cycle. There is therefore a need for a proper strategy for faith leaders to engage from an informed perspective to meet these great challenges effectively.
- Review of Referendum Bills and National Reforms
Among the key legislature being processed by Parliament are two versions of the Referendum Bill. It is necessary for the church leaders to familiarize with the provisions in these bills and make an input to ensure that referenda in future are just and faithfully reflect the will of the people. This especially in the light of a potential referendum before the elections which has the capacity to change the structure of the executive and governance system as a whole. The session will also highlight gender perspectives that must be safeguarded in the ongoing discourse and processes.
- Structure of the Conference
The Church and Covid-19 Conference will be moderated by Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki, the Chairman of the NCCK.
Each speaker will make the 10-minutes presentations. After all the presenters have delivered their presentations, the participants will be accorded a chance to ask questions via the chat room. Participants are encouraged to ask the questions early via the chat to allow enough time for them to be collected and handed over to the presenters to answer them during the plenary session.
- Outputs of the Conference
A Conference Report
A tool kit for church leaders for ministry during and after Covid-19 Pandemic