Pentecostals mobilize globally in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19
Pentecostals all over the world are now mobilizing in order to spread information about COVID-19 in areas where people have limited access to reliable information. Through the Pentecostal global network, by means of local churches and radio stations, it is possible to reach out with information to more than 100 million church members. PMU is one of the actors behind this initiative.
As many high-income countries have worked hard to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus has also hit hard towards low-income countries. According to UNDP, COVID-19 will lead to income losses of more than 2200 billion Swedish krona. In many countries, the infrastructure for communication is insufficient. In addition to the fact that people within one country speak many different local languages making it difficult for the authorities to get correct information out to all citizens, this is happening in situations where authorities are already facing challenges in reaching marginalized groups with social support. This means the Church has an important role to play.
“The Church gathers millions of people in both cities and rural villages, and they can mobilize the society in an effective way. Even though churches need to close down services and other activities during the pandemic, there is still a possibility to take part in the work to stop and limit the spread of COVID-19 and help share correct facts in times when myths are spreading just as fast as the virus. Churches can also be an important actor in giving people support and creating hope in a difficult time.” Said Niclas Lindgren, Director at PMU.
As a complement to the information provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) and national authorities, the Pentecostal World Fellowship (PWF) has developed informational material with recommendations to churches, pastors and development workers. The material is currently being spread by Pentecostal movements in roughly 100 different countries, as well as by mission organizations and through the partner networks of 11 Pentecostal development organizations. PMU is one of thoseorganizations and has played a role in the materials’ development. The purpose of the material is to encourage local churches to communicate accurate information in these times of crisis.
“As far as I know, this is the first time ever that the Pentecostal global network has coordinated an informational campaign about an urgent crisis in society in this way. We hope we will reach out to people in churches all over the world and be able to contribute in limiting and reducing the spread of COVID-19 in societies. This is a chance to be there for marginalized groups who might otherwise not be reached,” Lindgren said.
The information material is available in French, Spanish, English and Swahili; and might also be spread in different local languages through church driven radio stations. PMU is now sending this information out to local partners around the world.
“I hope that we will get this out to pastors and other church leaders fast in order for them to use it in communication with members and the local society. I hope that it will contribute to limiting and reducing the spread of the disease while mobilizing churches to give support to people who are affected by the crisis,” Lindgren said.
As a part of this campaign, the Pentecostal network is also organizing digital meeting places, for example, there will be a seminar with PMU’s partner and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Dr. Denis Mukwege from DR Congo, as one of the speakers.
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