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MBABANE – Churches that do not have social media platforms are having a difficult time conducting services.

At least two churches were yesterday forcefully closed by security officers who had to disturb services following that the number of congregants was exceedingly high. As part of the coronavirus (COVID-19) Regulations, 2020 government cut down the number of people in gatherings including in churches and funerals among others to less than 20 people. Such has resulted in a majority of churches in the country closing their doors and turning to social media where they currently livestream services. Others conduct their services in shifts. Rest in Christ Ministries is among those churches that felt the wrath of the patrolling security officers as some of the Christians were chased away by the police from the church premises.


The congregants, who had congregated outside, were told in no uncertain terms to vacate the surroundings. This resulted in the church prematurely cutting the service. In an interview with the Rest in Christ leader, Bishop Vincent Hlatshwayo, he confirmed that their figures had exceeded the required limit of 20 people. Hlatshwayo said there were around 20 people inside the church, while other members were outside where they were awaiting their turn to worship. Bishop Hlatshwayo said following the security officers’ arrival, they decided to stop the services. However, he said the officers had given them permission to continue the service with those inside the church. He said they decided to call off the service as there were a lot of Christians who had congregated outside.

“There were a limited number of 20 people inside the church, while the others were seated on chairs but outside the church,” said the bishop. He said they were warned by the security personnel that their arrangement was wrong, despite that others were not inside the church. Hlatshwayo stated that the security personnel informed them to watch their numbers, not to surpass the stipulated limit, even if it meant that the chairs were not inside the church but outside as it was still breaking the law. Bishop Hlatshwayo said they were also livestreaming their services on social media. He said the church in Mbabane was recently introduced and they did not think they could attract a lot of people.


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