Bushiri's church not closed, but on 7 day prayer and fasting period – spokesperson

2019-01-21 20:53
Prophet Bushiri (Instagram)

Prophet Bushiri (Instagram)

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The controversial Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) Church has not closed its doors to congregants. It is on a seven-day prayer and fasting period, says Maynard Manyowa, spokesperson for self-proclaimed Prophet Shepherd Bushiri. 

"We are not closed indefinitely. The church declared seven days of prayer and fasting, following which our calendar and direction will be distributed to our members," Manyowa said. 

Manyowa said the decision to have the seven-day prayer period was not for any reason "anyone might imagine". 

The church recently came under fire after three people died during a stampede on December 28. 

READ: 3 who died in stampede at Prophet Bushiri's church identified

This after a group of congregants reportedly ran for cover during a thunderstorm at the Tshwane showgrounds, where the church is housed.

On Thursday the church advised congregants through a Facebook post that its 2019 "Open doors grand entrance service", which was scheduled for Sunday, January 20, would be postponed. 

Case opened

In a statement, the church also informed its members and followers to continue in prayer and fasting as was previously announced. It said the prayers had been extended for an extra seven days.

"Our decision has nothing to do with any issues anyone might imagine. We are a church. We are guided by prayer. After these seven days, we will be guided by a revelation from the prophet," said Manyowa. 

Previously News24 reported that Bushiri had distanced himself from the church following the stampede. 

During a media briefing held in Pretoria last week, Manyowa told media that "there has been an incorrect tendency to conflate the person of Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and the ECG Church".

"The ECG Church is not his church, it belongs to South Africa and South Africans. The directors of the ECG are South Africans, our resident pastors are South Africans," Manyowa said.

A case of defeating the ends of justice was opened against the church and was still being investigated. 

This is after it emerged that the bodies of the deceased were removed from the church premises without the police being notified of the incident.

ALSO READ: Sanco - Bushiri lawyers xenophobia accusations an attempt to shift the blame

Police spokesperson Captain Augustinah Selepe told News24 that statements were being obtained from congregants and other stakeholders. 

She said no arrests had been made.

"Our investigation is still ongoing and we do not have an update at this stage. We are still obtaining statements from various stakeholders," Selepe said.

City of Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga visited the church shortly after the incident and inspected the premises where it was found that escape routes leading to escape doors and the escape doors to be used during emergencies were obstructed. Dangerous goods, including a diesel trailer, were also found stored inside the building. 

Read more on:    shepherd bushiri  |  pretoria  |  religion
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