Churches in the country have asked government to rescue them from financial problems they are experiencing due to restrictions on public gatherings.
The appeal follows results of a survey conducted by Malawi Interfaith Aids Association (Miaa) and Act Alliance which found that 53.8 percent of churches are in serious financial hiccups.
Miaa board chairperson Bishop Gilford Matonga said churches should not only be recognised as important when there is a crisis that needs religious intervention.
“Churches should be regarded among essential service providers that without them, then one aspect of humanity is missing. Churches are in a financial crisis now and they need to be bailed out,” he said.
Matonga said this at Lilongwe Pentecostal Church yesterday during a workshop on the impact of Covid-19 and faith groups’ role in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Responding to the appeal, presidential adviser on religious affairs the Reverend Brian Kamwendo said the issue is already under discussion at a higher level.
“We already submitted that request to the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 and they are deliberating on it. Once they give us feedback, we will communicate to the churches,” he said.
However, Kamwendo condemned the tendency by some evangelists to give conflicting messages on Covid-19 to their followers.
He said: “Imagine a pastor telling people that wearing a mask shows lack of faith. Others are saying there is no Covid-19 and others are going further prophesying the end of Covid-19. This is sad because church leaders command a lot of [respect] from people.”
Matonga acknowledged the concern and urged church leaders to concentrate on messages that bring hope and comfort while also providing correct information regarding Covid-19.
The workshop was organised by Miaa and Manet+ to create a platform for church leaders to interact with the presidential adviser.
President Lazarus Chakwera on Sunday directed that public gatherings be limited to 50 people or less.