By Foday Moriba Conteh
On the 21st March 2020, a team of Bishops met with His Excellency with regards a statement issued by the Ministry of Social Welfare on the ban of religious gatherings including Church services. Present in the meeting with the President were Bishop J. Archibald Cole, Bishop Arnold Temple, Bishop John K. Yambasu, Bishop Thomas Wilson, Bishop Akintayo Sam Jolly and Bishop Julius Laggah.
During the meeting, all the Bishops unanimously expressed their doubts about the authenticity of the Social Welfare Press Release not too long after the President has made a statement on restrictions of gatherings to not more than 100.
According to Bishop Julius Laggah, who was among the team of Bishops, the President registered his endorsement of the ban on the basis of the quick succession of news both nationally and internationally and passionately appealed to them to accept the ban as it is until the situation is reviewed.
“We had a frank but amicable discussion on the said subject as we the Bishops expressed our concerns and dissatisfaction on behalf of the Christian Church Community as to the way and manner the information was disseminated without any prior consultation with the Church Leadership,” Bishop Laggah intimated.
He noted that the President in his response tendered his sincere apologies on behalf of his Government for the lack of a prior engagement with religious leaders before the decision was made. He intimated that due to the urgency of the situation at hand regarding the Corona Virus and the proactive measures needed at the time necessitated such an action. He said the President reassured them of his partnership with the church and that he is always looking forward to more collaboration in the future.
The team recommended to His Excellency to call for a National Day of Prayer with the collaboration of the church in Sierra Leone for God’s divine intervention to protect the country from the Corona Virus pandemic.
The meeting ended with a brief time of Prayer with His Excellency and a benediction.