While the impact of Covid-19 on physical and mental health, income and finances has created hardship around the world, some members of the global Christian family are suffering right now more than others.
The Covid-19 pandemic has shut down churches, and in the impoverished Global South that means pastors -indeed front-line spiritual workers – who rely solely on church offerings to feed their families and put a roof over their heads, are without income. Often, they also struggle with regional conflicts, persecution and lack of medical systems or government support.
This is a crises moment! The time to act is now. Here at WEA, we’ve set aside much of our work to focus on helping pastors. This emergency fund is designed to help bridge pastors over a 6-month period, to help them survive until they can once again meet together with their congregations.
Here are the stories of just three evangelical pastors. They are our brothers and sisters. And they need our prayer and financial support.
The evangelical churches of India (more than 65,000) are grateful to everyone who is coming forward in supporting our call to care and provide generously for the poor, needy and marginalized in these challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic and lock-down. And this includes many pastors who rely on the freewill offerings of their congregations but for whom closed churches mean no food on the table at all. Because of your support, we are engaged in providing relief for many pastors and thousands of families. In cases where physical relief is not possible because of the lock-down and restriction in movement, we are providing unconditional cash support to the families.
While the Covid-19 lockdown has brought the entire country to a standstill, it has taken a greater toll on vulnerable groups, such as the daily-wage earners, low-income earners and the homeless. Having lost their means of income, they are rendered destitute as they lack the finances to purchase essential provisions such as food and medication for themselves and their families. Many families are reduced to eating one meagre meal a day or none at all, bordering on near starvation. Among those affected are many rural pastors, ministry workers who are often impoverished and depend on the Sunday collection as support. But churches have now been closed for several months. To make matters worse, Christian pastors are also often subjected persecution and hostility and so face alienation in the villages in which they live.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, the people of Zimbabwe were already suffering from a severe water and sanitation crisis. Thousands of women and school-age children may spend eight to nine hours and all night in line at crowded boreholes or narrow water wells to get water that may not be safe. Now Covid-19, with its lockdown, has made an already dangerous situation even worse with food shortages and little medical care. This is the condition that pastors like Marko today face for themselves as they struggle to have even one meal a day for their families and are largely cut off from caring for their congregations due to poor technology. The church is working to distribute dry ration kits and help pastors with a small allowance for medical care and even data packages so they can be in better communication.
The WEA is a network of churches in more than 130 nations that have joined to give a worldwide identity, voice and platform to more than 600 million evangelical Christians. Our work focusses on evangelism, church leader discipleship and advocacy for critical causes such as religious freedom and persecution, human trafficking, peace & reconciliation, refugees, creation care, relief and development. WEA enjoys special status with the United Nations and diplomatic type access to world political leaders to advocate for change. worldea.org.
WEA has been a charter member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability since 1980. WEA is audited annually by an independent public accounting firm. WEA is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. In the United States, your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.