Newsflash: Friday, 24 April 2020

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24 APRIL ENG 2020

AFM Colleague,

There are two important Presidential Circulars for your attention. The first is information on the NLF Salary Relief Fund for AFM Pastors and the second concerns Covid-19 Food Relief. I also address questions regarding the issue of declaring Pastors as an essential service, as we are still receiving many enquiries.

1. PRESIDENTAIL CIRCULARS

Presidential Circular Nr. 1 – NLF Salary Relief Fund for AFM Pastors:

https://afm-ags.org/covid-10-nlf-salary-relief-fund-for-afm-pastors-17-april-2020/

Presidential Circular Nr. 2 – Covid19 Food Relief

https://afm-ags.org/covid-19-food-relief-18-april-2020/

2. PASTORS AS WORKERS RENDERING ESSENTIAL SERVICES

We have been receiving enquiries about the classification of Pastors (Ministers of Religion) as rendering essential service under the State of National Disaster and Lockdown Regulations.

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) of which the AFM is a member church, did make a request early in the lockdown that Ministers of Religion be regarded as providing essential services during the current period. The request was turned down by Government for understandable reasons. Part of the challenge is that the numbers of Pastors, Priests, Ministers, Bishops, Apostles and other Religious leaders are so many in every community that there might be such a flood of people in the streets in the name of the church, that it will undermine the purposes of the lockdown. The other challenge is that there is no standard protocol that determines who qualifies to be designated as a pastor. This may lead to an explosion of new pastors demanding essential service accreditation. Another issue is the shortage of personal protective equipment, which may lead to the exposure of pastors to the virus and to them possibly ending up transmitting the virus.

In terms of the Regulations promulgated by Government, funerals form part of essential services. In this regard Pastors who are to perform a funeral service need a special permit issued by the Head of the Denomination. For the AFM of SA this permit is issued by the General Secretary, Dr. Henri Weideman. AFM Pastors who have conducted funerals were issued with this form.

It is important to emphasise that the leadership of the AFM in its previous communications took a position that our pastors and members should comply with the regulations regarding the lockdown for purposes of ensuring that we do not become transmitters of the virus but rather be transmitters of Hope.

Blessings!
MG Mahlobo