The current COVID-19 situation in South Africa presents many challenges, but our country’s huge levels of inequality mean that these challenges are amplified for the population’s most vulnerable.
As followers of Jesus, who consistently sought to amplify the struggles of the marginalised, these are the spaces into which we are called. In this time, even as some give in to the temptation to lose sight of God’s dream for the flourishing of ALL of creation and put their own interests above those of others, we are also seeing beautiful examples of selfless actions of people caring and looking out for the most vulnerable in their communities. And in fact, one of the most frequent questions we are getting is ‘what can we do to help those that need it?’
While this is a rapidly changing situation, and one that is difficult to predict, there are absolutely ways that we can be good neighbours to one another in this time.
Mobilisation of Your Own Local Church Congregation
The local church has one of the most valuable resources available in times of crisis: readily arranged networks of people. Please click through here for help on how to map your congregation and organise clusters of care during lockdown.
Local Mobilisation and Networking amongst Church Leaders
The church has an extremely wide reach in South Africa. If you are a church leader, consider how you can connect with and mobilise impactful responses with other church leaders and leaders in churches at this time. Click here for some questions and resources to help you do this.
Collaborating with Existing Networks or Creating Local Structures
At the moment, a huge amount of local community mobilisation across the country is happening. In Cape Town this is largely in the form of Community Action Networks (CANs). One of the best ways for churches and church members to be good neighbours within their communities and beyond, is to set up or get involved in these local networks. If you are based elsewhere in the country, there are most likely other structures in existence in your area. Find out what initiatives are already happening, and add your strength, resources and networks to them, so that we can assist with collaborative responses. Often it is not necessary to start something new, and the most effective way we can respond is in collaboration with something already in existence.
Ideas for Specific Ways that Churches can Respond with their Space & Resources
You may decide as a local church that you have the capacity and expertise within your congregation to be involved in some key frontline responses during the lockdown period. If this is so, please click here for ways in which you can identify these responses.
While plans continue to unfold on an hourly basis, we wanted to prepare a list of Churches who would be willing to have their site/s used by the Departments of Health or Social Development. We are also encouraging Churches to consider open their doors as Care Centres. If you are interested in offering your site/s to be used during this time or running a Care Centre, please click here for more details.
Giving Financial Assistance to those on the Frontlines
Lastly, many organisations serving our population’s most vulnerable that have been deemed essential services during this time are under huge financial strain. We encourage you to find out about such organisations in your area and beyond, and consider making much-needed financial donations to them in this time where they are carrying enormous responsibility on all of our behalf.