Original Research

‘Same storm – Different boats’: A Southern African Methodist response to socio-economic inequalities exposed by the COVID-19 storm

Vusi M. Vilakati, Wessel Bentley
Theologia Viatorum | Vol 45, No 1 | a136 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/tv.v45i1.136 | © 2021 Vusi M. Vilakati, Wessel Bentley | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 September 2021 | Published: 10 December 2021

About the author(s)

Vusi M. Vilakati, Methodist Church of Southern Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa
Wessel Bentley, Research Institute for Theology and Religion, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


This article critiques the theological basis for the Methodist Church of Southern Africa’s response to the socio-economic impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. In light of the fact that there are few (if any) clergy historical accounts on how to respond to a deadly pandemic like COVID-19, this article is an analytic description that weaves together narrative renditions of the authors’ experiences with formal correspondence of the institution’s documentation on the inequalities exposed by the imposition of the lockdown in South Africa and countries that form part of the Methodist Connexion. Theological questions of human dignity, solidarity, and economic justice that have been surfaced by the pandemic are also raised. The article makes practical observations and offers insights that contribute to the ongoing dialogue and institutional strategies for responding to COVID-19. It further offers a resource for future researchers and communities who may respond to a similar pandemic in the future.


Methodism; COVID-19; Southern Africa; socio-economic inequalities; social justice


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