Mixed feelings about ZCC decision to keep doors shut despite lifting of the lockdown

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Some Zion Christian Church members say it has been difficult to celebrate three consecutive Easter holidays without gathering at their church headquarters, Moria, outside Polokwane in Limpopo.
Annually, throng of ZCC members descend to Moria for the Easter pilgrimage where they listen to the sermon by the church leader Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown in 2020, the church members haven’t heard their spiritual leader, Lekganyane.
Both churches, ZCC and St Engenas ZCC suspended their services and visits by the general members to their head-quarters, Moria, since the outbreak of Covid-19 and subsequent lockdown regulations in 2020.
The lockdown was, however, lifted by President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier this month and subsequently, there was sense of hope that the church members might spend the Easter holidays in the holy city, Moria, but that did not happen.
The churches have not yet opened their doors to the general members.
Recently, President Ramaphosa met with both church leaders, to commended them for providing leadership and saving lives during the pandemic, by not opening their churches.
However, the general church members say they miss worshiping and praising God at the holy land.
One such member, Ndivhuwo Sikhwetha, from Tshakuma outside Thohoyandou, says he would have liked to listen to the Easter sermon which is delivered by Bishop Lekganyane.
“We have not been able to meet at the holy city for three Easter pilgrimages. Though it is hard, we understand the decision given the fact that it would be a gathering of millions of people. It would be impossible for just a few of us to be allowed in as we would all want to go which would lead a lot of people losing their lives to COVID-19.”

Other church members say they wish the church to open soon, as they too want to meet with their fellow worshippers and praise the Lord in Moria again.

“I’m so hurt as I would be enjoying myself in Moria. I would be dancing in choir, or watching choirs from other places, (and) enjoying the food there. The main thing that we feel we have been robbed of is peace. We are in dire need of peace and love. That is what we receive when we are in Moria. When I’m in Moria around this time, we are taught about how Jesus Christ was crucified and resuscitation and that Christ died for us. But there are also messages of discipline and good behaviour as church members.”

Meanwhile, businesses, including the hawkers, usually make good profit during the Easter holidays when thousands of ZCC pilgrims converge at Moria. This time around, the businesses have been affected. It is not clear when the church will open its doors to members again.