PASTORS and church workers in many parts of the world are facing destitution, as the tithes from their congregations, from which their income is usually drawn, have dry up because of Covid church closures.
The charity Open Doors, which campaigns for persecuted Christians, says that many are in a “dire situation” and are unable to feed their families.
The charity’s Asia communications director, Jan Vermeer, said: “Normally, when Christians suffer, the Church is where they turn to for help. But, with Covid-19, the church pastors can barely look after their own families, never mind the streams of people who come knocking on their doors for help.
“Everywhere we turn, we’re seeing the same dire situation. Pastors whose income is based solely on giving from members of the church don’t have anything to eat.” One pastor at a church in India said that he had had no support since the church had closed.
Pastor Adane, a minister in rural Ethiopia for 20 years, said: “Because of Covid-19, the Church is in great trouble. While churches were closed as part of the government lockdown, nobody could come to church. We had no income to pay the pastors and evangelists.
“Before, there were people who helped support ministry workers, but now they have stopped. The Church used to have many streams of income, but now it has all stopped.”
The charity is distributing aid to Christians in those countries that, it says, are often the last in line when official aid is distributed.