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The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality together with religious leaders took the church to COVID-19 patients in isolation at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Sunday.

The church service was held in line with the COVID-19 regulations and during the first weekend where the religious sector was allowed to hold services under national lockdown level 3.

Scores of patients enjoyed the service from the seats outside their isolation suites as the clergy led the proceedings from the stadium grounds.

The Municipality also streamed the service live on its Facebook page where more than 22 000 users were reached through the live broadcast and left their messages of support on the comments section.

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The jubilant service was led by Reverent Mbulelo Xalabile of the Methodist Church and Minister Mpumelelo Mzizi of the Enlightened Christian Church who also prayed with the patients.

NMBM Council Speaker, Councillor Buyelwa Mafaya said she decided to organise the programme after seeing a video of the patients on social media when they turned their isolation suite into a worship room.

Speaker Mafaya said: “We came here today with a revival message, we requested the Methodist Church, Zwide Circuit to join us. We saw a video circulating of men and women in isolation here singing and reviving their hope.

When we saw that video our conscience was revived too as people who know that when we run out of strength that is when God’s strength is shown to us.

As an office that deals with the religious sector I asked Reverant Mbulelo Xalabile to revive the patients and give hope, love and peace so the patients can know that we miss and love them. They are not alone.”

NMBM Interim Mayor Councillor Thsonono Buyeye also attended the service.

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Addressing the patients, he said: “We are here because we were inspired by you. We want to thank you for that, continue to inspire us. We know it is not easy leaving your families behind not knowing what could happen in your absence but because you loved your families so much you did not want to risk their lives you decided to come here. Many in our City are refusing to isolate and be quarantined and that places that greater majority of our people at risk hence we are saying to you continue to inspire.”

“Continue to show the rest of the residents that there is nothing wrong, there is nothing you have done before God’s eyes. It’s not a curse to you. We thank you for that. When the camera was moving around I did not see anyone trying to hide from the cameras because we are talking about an invisible enemy that we should not be ashamed of. Many of you will say ‘we kept the social distance, wore masks and washed our hands. Why me God?’. I’m sure many of you have asked yourselves such questions. You have done everything we said you should do but you are seeing yourselves sitting here today. That does not mean you must be ashamed of yourselves. Today we are happy.”

COVID-19 patient Nombulelo Charlie said the service had provided much needed spiritual upliftment to patients.
She said: “Your presence has given us hope, we can see that we are still cared for by the society. You are thinking about us, you are praying for us and our families. This service means a lot to us, it has reminded us that God does not dessert his people, He is with us always. The service was great; we wish you could do it more. It lifted our spirits and gave us hope.”

“I want to give hope to the community. People have fear and I don’t blame them because that is how the virus presented itself but research shows that we can beat Coronavirus, it does end. I wish people can stop perpetuating stigma because we will recover and go back home healthy.”

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Issued by Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Communications Office.

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