Missing church? You could catch a service at your local shopping mall

29 June 2020 - 12:38 By Penwell Dlamini
Worshippers are praying for people and the country at malls in Ekurhuleni.
Worshippers are praying for people and the country at malls in Ekurhuleni.
Image: Staff photographer

Being unable to attend church during lockdown,  or a lack of data, should not stop people from receiving the word of God.

As a result, a group of worshippers have decided to take church services to the malls to pray for the country and the  families facing hardship caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, SowetanLIVE reports.

Members of the House of Grace Ministries in Vosloorus, on Gauteng's East Rand, have started an initiative to pray at malls in Ekurhuleni to help those who cannot physically attend places of worship.

Pastor Mandla Tshabalala, leader of the church, told Sowetan the initiative started when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that places of worship would reopen.

"I felt in my spirit that we should take the church to the people because they are not able to come to church because there are restrictions on numbers and hours of worship. We chose to use public places where everyone is moving around.

"We simply stand in these public places and give people the word of God. Our intention is to encourage people."

House of Grace Ministries holds services on Sundays, which Tshabalala said are attended by a limited number of people.

Sowetan witnessed the midday service on Saturday. Dressed in their traditional all-white church uniform, the congregants stood next to the entrance at Vosloorus Crossing Mall with  a microphone and a speaker.

Gospel music played softly in the background as preachers took turns to pray about issues the country is facing. While most people walked to the shops, a group of shoppers gathered to listen to the music, prayers and preaching.

"We want to use our services outside malls to pray for the country. The Bible tells us that whenever we see such difficulties in the land, as people called by God, we should pray so that the Lord can heal the land. In our services, we pray for our government, from the president to the local councillor. We pray for essential service workers who are at the forefront of the fight against the coronavirus," he said.

Tshabalala said a portion of the prayer sessions is dedicated to families who are facing serious strain, and also to the scourge of gender-based violence which has gripped the country.

Services have also been held at Lesedi and Spruitview malls.