PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has urged the Church to stay away from the political arena and concentrate on playing its God-given role of providing counsel to the nation’s leadership.

And Munali PF member of parliament Professor Nkandu Luo has asked the Church to seek God’s intervention into the coronavirus outbreak, saying the disease is Biblical and no one should be blamed for it.

Delivering a speech on behalf of President Lungu during the ground breaking ceremony for Chelstone Seventh Day Adventist Church in Lusaka, Sunday, Tourism and Arts Minister Ronald Chitotela called on the Church to stay away from politics.

“Union President, I am humbly informed that for two years now the Church has been using two worship centres including the children’s chapel to carter for the increasing numbers of members. I am also reliably informed that the membership here has increased to over 1,800 members from a mere 17 when the Church began in 1968. Distinguished invited guests, brothers and sisters, let me take this opportunity to commend the Seventh Day Adventist Church or the good work you are doing in supplementing my government’s effort in the area of education, health and disaster relief. I am aware union president that the Seventh Day Adventist Church runs three mission hospitals, 12 clinics/health centres, one nursing school, 21 primary and six secondary school across the country. This is commendable and my government appreciates the efforts by your Church to supplement our social service delivery towards achieving of the development goals by 2030,” President Lungu said.

“Recently your Church came to the aid of the local authority here in Lusaka by way of burying unclaimed bodies. This union president was a demonstration of community service which is a pillar on which your church is founded. I appeal to you all to contribute generously towards this noble cause of building a sanctuary. I am delighted that the infrastructure boom that has been witnessed in our country has not left out the Churches. We as the government that is the way it should be because out God deserves to dwell in magnificent Temple. Distinguished guests, brethren, my government is committed to supporting projects such as this one as long as God permits me to be in your presence, we shall work together in uplifting the living standards of our people and also creating a conducive environment for our people to worship our God. We will without any reservations or regret perpetuate, embrace the Lordship and sovereignty of our God.”

President Lungu called on the Church to leave politics and concentrate on its spiritual role of offering guidance.

“I urge the Church in the nation to be vigilant and continue to be steadfast as the voice of hope and unity. The Church should stay away from the political arena and play its God-given role of providing counsel and guidelines to the nation’s leadership. Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, may I once again thank all of you that have contributed to this project and those that plan to contribute towards this project,” said Chitotela.

President Lungu pledged 1,000 bags of cement and a K100,000 cash.

And Prof Luo said the coronavirus pandemic was biblical.

“I am aware as a member of parliament that the population in Chelstone and beyond is growing, and it’s growing at a time when a lot of us are seeking God. But also as a country, we are going through certain tribulations. And what we are going through not only as a nation but world over, all the issues of the corona viruses and so on is actually Biblical. It was written in the Bible that such times will come. But what is important is how we as a people respond. And for what I know, the only way we can respond to all these challenges is not blame game but look up to God. This is why this particular ceremony is extremely important. I stand here as a member of parliament and all I can say this morning is to really wish you God’s blessings and you can always count on my support,” said Prof Luo.