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Are Clergymen Feeding Off Christians? 

By Edwin Ndangoh

CameroonPostline.com — Operation Help the Poor and Needy, Keep Presbytery Alive, St. Vincent the Paul’s Collection, Funds for Funerals, and Father’s Collection are some of the means by which some clergymen seem to get rich off God’s people.

Some clergymen have been known to start a church and then become wealthy living in flashy houses and driving luxury cars. Some Christians find these techniques repugnant although they regret the fact that they cannot express their grievances due to the fear of the Biblical verse “Touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm.” Others, however, think pastoral work deserves good working conditions.

“It is true that some pastors are using fundraising as a means to make money for themselves. But I, as a Christian, give offertory to the Church not because it has been demanded by pastors, but because it is my responsibility as a Christian to do so. After all, it is written; ‘all Christians must pay tithes to the Lord’.

In essence, whatever thing is donated to the Church must be done out of love,” said Andreas Ekema Mokonia, a Christian of Ebenezer Baptist Church Great Soppo. Findi Williams, a Catholic Christian from St. John Paul II Parish in Ekona, says churches have become commercial businesses. “Formerly, churches were run by the Basel Mission, Roman Catholic, and Britain.

Now that they are operating independently, they have to raise funds. I am not sure Government is aware of the operation of some of these churches and they don’t even tax them,” Findi told The Post. He added that “Churches are just like institutions that need to buy furniture and build infrastructures. If they don’t have external funding, they have no choice than to levy the Christians.”  

But Nelson Ndumbe, who also worships at St. John Paul II Parish Ekona, doesn’t think so. “I think the collection of funds by churches is a motive to exploit Christians. If not, how can one explain the fact that St. John Paul II Parish in Ekona has for a long time not undergone any renovation when money was collected for that purpose? Where is the money going to?” Ndumbe asked.

Other Christians have different views especially as they feel they are giving to God and not to man. Mfikela Brundhilda, a Catholic Christian at the Buea town Parish said to The Post, “Give according to your reach. Nothing is too great nor too small in the eyes of God, what matters is the state of mind in which that gift is been presented.”

“Christians should not be embarrassed in Church because they don’t have money to offer during service. They should always keep in mind the story of the widow’s mite,” said Mfikela.
Romanus Asong, an inhabitant of Muea, says he doesn’t have any specific church of worship, but he always goes for Sunday service with enough cash, as mostly the Catholics require two to three offerings per service.

Meanwhile, the clergy have their own stories to tell. In an interview with The Post, the Pastor of Presbyterian Church Molyko, Amos Talikom Nfor, said, “From origin the church had developed two ways which are Biblically based in raising funds which are: tithes in which every Christian is supposed to give one-tenth of his or her earnings be it money or food raised in the farm.

After the Presbyterian Church gained independence from Basel Mission, they were looking for means to continue because by then the congregation was no longer paying tithes. They developed what is today referred to as Church contributions in the early 1970’s, whereby every Christian pays a certain amount of money in a year. Women and men who don’t work pay FCFA 2.400 and FCFA 3.600, respectively. And those earning salaries pay as much as they can, which goes above the normal amount expected from them.”

Pastor Talikom said special offerings can equally come up in which all the offerings are collected to run either the congregation or the central system which doesn’t have any other means of making money.

“Pastors are not meant to be poor because our God is not a poor God. If my congregation has a car, I can use it in performing God’s work and instantly returns it upon completion. I think it’s the responsibility of Christians to cater for their pastors because they don’t earn salaries. Pastors rather have but what is known as stipend which is given to them monthly, and therefore rely on Christians for their upkeep,” Talikom said.

Talikom said some Christians just yell on the issue of more than one offering in church during service because they are ignorant of the reasons behind such collections. He said he has realised that some Christians have not understood the story of the widow’s mite that is why some Christians jeer at the amount of money some of their brethren donate during harvest thanksgiving.

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