SOME concerned members of the public have called on local authorities to look into the issue of churches using classrooms as places of worship and churches built near people’s homes.
They said that churches should have permanent places in which to worship and not hold their services in classrooms.
They have said that church leaders should know that religion was a lot of work and they should ensure that they have proper places of worship before launching their churches.
Meeting in classrooms was inconveniencing pupils who wanted to use the classrooms to study even on weekends.
Jericho Mambo, one of the concerned people, said that it was not right for a church not to have a permanent place of worship because a church was supposed to be for many members who should raise money to build a church in a designated place.
A church was also a home for members where they can go to any time without fear of being chased away.
Mr. Mambo said pastors should understand that a church was not just a matter of people meeting and talking over issues but a place where people can run to seek spiritual comfort.
He said that having church services in a classroom was disrespectful and it should not be encouraged because it did not show seriousness on the part of church leaders and members.
“”Pastors are forgetting that the ministry should also help in providing a good and comfortable place for people whenever they feel like they are lost; they are supposed to run to church to seek refuge but if they are worshipping in a classroom how will someone be able to run there?
‘‘On a working day the classrooms are occupied with pupils and the schools are busy; the pastors themselves should know and understand that the ministry is not just about them, it is about all the people that want to start following them and be part of their congregation,” said Mr. Mambo.
He added that there was need for the council and school authorities to ensure that they did not allow churches to operate in classrooms and ensure that each church first gets land where they will be able to build their church and it is not in the neighbourhood so as to avoid noise pollution among the nearby residents. Rosa Chumbu, another concerned person, said that churches were free to operate anywhere but they should be considerate of other people and not just concentrate on their church services.
Ms. Chumbu said that schools were used by pupils every other day and having church services on Sunday at a school was inconveniencing to pupils who might want to study on that particular day.
She said Zambia was a free country and that was why any person could form their own church but it was not right for institutions of learning to be turned into churches.
“We do not have pupils learning in churches and I do not see a reason why we should have people conducting prayers in schools. Our men of God need to know their place in society.
‘‘As citizens we respect our men of God but there is need for them to also prove that the mushrooming churches are not a business venture and build descent churches for themselves and their members,” she said.