Sunday 5 April, 2020

Church defies calls for social distancing

Despite the government's calls for social distancing and avoidance of mass gatherings amidst the COVID-19 crisis, one religious organisation says it will continue with its services as usual and put its faith in God. 

The Divine Encounter Fellowship Ministries International (DEFMI), which has several locations throughout Trinidad, has advised its membership that services are on every night this week as scheduled.

This comes following announcements of suspension of services by several religious leaders including Catholic Archbishop Jason Gordon. 

In a Facebook post, the DEFMI said it is deeply concerned about the state of the world at this time as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and will follow "as far as possible" all the precautionary measures recommended by the State.  

However, the organisation quoted Bible scriptures saying it will put its absolute trust in God that "no plague shall come near our dwelling". 

"Thus, Sunday morning services will be held at the normal times of 8.00 am and 11.30 am," the organisation advised.

"Concerning our deliverance training, we will continue as planned—6.30 nightly from Sunday 15th to Friday 20th."

The organisation urged its members to be wise and cautious and follow all the rules but to not panic and instead be confident in "God's promise to keep us in the time of trouble."

It added that its church services would afford members the opportunity to pray that God curtails the spread of the coronavirus in Trinidad and Tobago.

On Saturday, Catholic Archbishop Jason Gordon said all masses would be put off until further notice as the Catholic Church does its part to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"Our first priority is the protection of life and the safety of God’s people, especially the vulnerable who make up a large and important part of our Church community," Gordon said.

The Anglican Church has taken similar measures saying all church services have been suspended. 

Both the Catholic and Anglican churches have urged its members to tune in to its television and radio channels for religious programming and updates and to continue to pray for the nation to overcome the pandemic.

The Anjuman Sunnat ul Jamaat Association (ASJA) and the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) have also announced the cancellation of services and events.

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