By Toby Prince
Presiding Bishop of Living Faith Church also known as Winners’ Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo, has said that the church held a service on Sunday “with less than half of her regular worshippers” to sensitise congregants on the ravaging coronavirus.
Oyedepo was criticised for the action on social media given the Ogun State Government’s order for gatherings, social and religious, to be restricted to 50 persons.
However, in a statement on Monday by his special assistant, Steve Ogah, Oyedepo described allegations that the service was held in ‘deliberate defiance’ of the government’s ban as “uncharitable insinuations and misinterpretations.”
The statement read: “For avoidance of doubt, as stakeholders and as a responsible organisation, Living Faith Church fully supports and encourages compliance with all initiatives of government to combat the spread of this dreaded virus.
“However, information has to be strategically disseminated to the grassroots, noting that the Church is a family and not an industry, it is for this reason that enlightenment and sensitization from the Church platform is a most effective way to get people involved in playing their part in terms of prayers and intercessions and not just staying away from Church without knowing what to do.
“Invariably, a press release from the office of the CAN President, through his Special Assistant on media on Saturday, March 21, 2020, expressed the same position that members who may gather in church premises, many of whom may not be aware of this regulations should be allowed to worship for the purpose of enlightenment on the subject matter.
“As we all know, the Church is made up of both literate and illiterate congregants; many are not in touch with any of the modern platforms of communication and this is what we did yesterday. Indeed, the service was devoted entirely to sensitizing and mobilizing members of the Church regarding the danger of this deadly virus and the need to comply with government directives.”
Oyedepo, according to the statement, has met with the government to clarify the issue.
The statement further read: “For instance, to show how law-abiding our organisation is and in compliance with government directives, all our primary and secondary schools across the nation have been directed to close down.
“Also, our students at Landmark University, Omuaran, Kwara State were sent back home, while Covenant University Students, who are currently on vacation were instructed to stay back at home while awaiting further directives from government.
“As a responsible and law-abiding organisation we wish to state that will ensure compliance with the government directives in all our churches across the state.”