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Combating COVID-19 and “Possessing the Nations”: Insights from Ghana’s Megachurches

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Abstract for Online Program Book (maximum 1200 characters including spaces)

The centrality of religion in African life often comes to the forefront in times of communal crisis. The crisis of COVID-19 is no exception, as religious leaders have been forced to respond innovatively to retain their channels of blessing and mediated anointing in a time of physical distancing. Although Pentecostal/charismatic churches throughout Ghana have faced government bans on social gatherings, their media impact and presence was anything but silenced. These churches' existing, global media presence has only been heightened as non-physical communication becomes a new norm in religious experience. This paper examines how the religious leaders of the Church of Pentecost and United Denominations Originating from the Lighthouse Group of Churches have reacted and responded to the spread of COVID-19 in Ghana. We interrogate the religious and theological language of church leaders, identifying the tensions emerging at the intersection of faith, politics, and science. We suggest that these leaders have reinterpreted their theological themes, expanded their global influence, and enhanced their political power to 'go global' and 'possess the nations.'

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