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Pentecostal church leaders to prioritize psychosocial support

Bishop Leonald Sserwadda (L) Chairperson of regional overseers of National Fellowship of Born Again Pentecostal Churches and Bishop Godfrey Luwaga, the Secretary General during their retreat in Masaka. URN photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The leadership of the National Fellowship of Born-Again Pentecostal Churches of Uganda-NFBPC has resolved to start psychosocial support programs in their places of worship following the partial reopening from the second lockdown.

During their retreat in Masaka city, the fourteen regional overseers of Pentecostal Churches in Uganda agreed to put extra attention to providing psychosocial support services to their followers currently faced with challenges ranging from anxiety about the future and economic uncertainty resulting from the lockdown.

Bishop Leonard Sserwadda, the Southern regional overseer of Pentecostal Churches says that they made the resolution to systematically adjust their methods of evangelism by placing emphasis on causing a holistic recovery of members of their congregations as opposed to targeting them for offertory and tithe collections.

He says the recent reopening of the churches has revealed to them rare forms of distress and levels of hopelessness among people, which requires religious leaders to carry out vigorous campaigns to restore hope in the community.

Bishop Godfrey Luwaga, the Pentecostal Churches overseer for the greater Kampala sub-region says that they have resolved to train all clerics on how to appropriately deal with the underlying psychosocial challenges that have arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic.

He explains that besides being spiritually weak, many people have been exploited physically and emotionally during the lockdown. He cites the victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence who he says are currently so vulnerable and living in despair.

He says that the pastors are also going to physically reach out to families of their followers and encourage them to establish home-based income-generating projects that will enable them to improve their household incomes and generate more wealth.

He says that many parents have reneged on their responsibilities of proper child-bringing, saying they intend to use this as an opportunity to remind the family members of their responsibilities as they wait for the schools to reopen.

Pastor Peter Bwengi, the overseer on Pentecostal Churches in the West Nile region says that their intervention will help them deal with the after-effects of depression, which include among others suicide that is already manifesting in different parts of the country.

“Some people have now lost the morale of going to places of worship, it is high time that we reached out to them and give them hope despite the challenges they are enduring,” he noted.

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