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Sunday, February 05, 2023
church & ministry
Impact of COVID-19 on Elderly Believers
A picture shows elderly believers being visited at an unknown date.A picture shows elderly believers being visited at an unknown date.

Once at a Sunday service, a senior female believer negotiated with the receptionist. It turned out that she had reserved a seat for a certain service, but when she came to the meeting point, the receptionist found she had made a mistake in her reservation. But fortunately, with vacancies at the meeting place, they arranged a seat for her since this was not during the strict virus control period.

Although this incident is small, it reflects the situation faced by many elderly believers when the epidemic breaks out.

Unlike young people, the elderly are not good at using electronic devices, which makes them unable to reserve seats for services. A consequence is that they disappeared from the church, which becomes very obvious once church services resume. 

Many elderly believers are trying to use WeChat for the first time without understanding how to follow the official church account or how to make an appointment. Even basic operations can be very difficult for them. Consequently, they can’t attend worship or even some have even left the church.

For example, an aged female Christian in her late 80s intended to return to the church when the epidemic was under control but she turned away on the day when the church reopened because she did not know how to use WeChat to make an appointment. So she immediately asked her children to buy a smartphone to create a WeChat personal account and to help her make an appointment. The first few times went relatively smoothly, but after a few weeks, her children were temporarily working in other places and couldn’t help her make appointments. So she missed several Sunday services.

Some senior believers who know how to use WeChat have gone to the other extreme. After mastering the primary WeChat functions, they discovered a lot of high-quality sermons. So they began worshiping at home instead of attending church services. An elderly member said, "Issues covered on the Internet are far more exciting than the church. As I am old, it is inconvenient for me to move. Therefore, listening to sermons at home is indeed the best choice. If it were not for epidemic prevention and control, I would not have known that WeChat is such a good thing."

Another aged sister stated that her children did not allow her to go to church. As she is old and frail, they are concerned that contracting the virus in public might endanger her life.

After the outbreak of the epidemic, many cities were silent for long periods with the church's visitation ministry being suspended. Elderly believers turned away from the church since they have unintentionally lost contact with the church which hasn’t carried out visitation. Some time ago, a female believer noted that her neighbor had turned out to be members of her own church, but her feelings for the church had faded as she hadn't received care from the church for more than two years.

If the city has not reported virus cases recently, the person in charge of the church is suggested to walk around and visit elderly ones for their spiritual life. So the elderly could maintain a good relationship with the church during the current special period.

- Translated by Livingstones

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