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Pentecostal churches and inclination to conceal news of death

OLUDARE MAYOWA
BY OLUDARE MAYOWA

Until recently, I was not aware that Pentecostal churches are not inclined to announce the death of members, especially if such member happens to be a young person or is considered too young to die.

I took notice of this position when a pastor I know lost his wife not long ago and the manner in which the news was treated and wrapped up in secrecy baffled me. I had expected that such sad occurrence would be announced while the church prays for the family and encouraged members to participate in all the burial rites.

Though the leadership of the church identified with the family and participated in all the rites of passage, but members were shielded away from the news and those who heard about it merely got to know from the grave vine.

Since then, I have been paying particular attention to such issues and I have come to realise that it is like a tradition or policy in some churches to keep such news away from members.

I was wondering what would have informed such decision by church leaders after all death is inevitable.

Why are they scared to announce news of death of members, when we truly live to die some day? I can’t wrap my head around it.

This issue further came to the fore after the death of a prominent gospel singer, Osinachi Nwachukwu.

It was learnt that despite her position in her church as lead singer, the news of her death was not immediately announced until it was broken on the internet.

Someone told me that most Pentecostal churches are not willing to announce the death of young members or those they considered too young to die so as not to discourage members,

They think if such news are announced in the open church, some members could be afraid and move out of the church with the thinking that God does not answer prayer in such assembly.

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Unfortunately, many church leaders have not done well in educating their members about life and death. They have exposed them to more of miracles and impossibilities that they have neglected to teach the balance gospel, which recognize the inevitability of death.

While the scripture promise us long life, we should also be comforted by the same scripture which says those who died in the Lord have hope of eternal life. Rather than focusing on miracles and all that, churches should be teaching about living a life pleasing to God.

Christians should be encouraged to live their lives for God so that when death comes, at whatever point, they are assured of eternal glory and reigning with the Lord.

Death is the ultimate end of every living thing, both human being and things and nobody is sure of when it will come. When someone dies, we should see it as the end of their mission on earth. Such person should not be denied the necessary acknowledgement and right to farewell from their brethren from the church.

Someone might want to say that once a person died he or she is dead, nothing done on this earth would matter again. Yes, while I agree with such position, nonetheless there are ways the church could accord the memory of a departed member the right recognition that could assuage the pain of their immediate family and make them feel belong and acknowledge a sense of appreciation for their departed loved one.

People who may want to leave a church because people die in the church are not rooted in the scripture and should be well disciple to understand the essence of life and death.

The Bible equally enjoined us to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. These are basic essence of living and the church should be willing to encourage members to understand this without making it looks as if death will have any negative impact on membership and attendance in the church.

Have you bothered to consider how it feels when a Church acknowledges that no life was lost in the course of thanksgiving while a family mourning the death of a loved one is present at such gathering?

What a feeling! The church that maintains this position of concealing the death of members from others should know that they are not doing the memory of the departed soul any good. The Bible says, sweet is the memories of the righteous.  The dead among us are not necessary sinners and should not be so treated.

I am aware that in the orthodox churches, such practice is not common, but more prevalent in the Pentecostal churches. The manner they conceal the news of their dead members is really not the right way to honour the memory of the dead and also console those left behind.

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