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Faith, Politics and Science in Nigeria: Interrogating Local Responses of Megachurches to the COVID-19 Pandemic

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

The COVID-19 pandemic has flustered dimensions of public and private life in very visible but varied ways. In Nigeria, as in several parts of the world, faith-based groups are trying to make sense of what is happening, and why, as they also try to cope with government ‘lockdown’ measures introduced to contain and limit the spread of the virus. This study focuses on the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) which represents one of the largest megachurches within global religious landscapes, as exemplified by its Redemption Camp (a.k.a. Redemption City) located along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in Nigeria, which doubles as RCCG’s International headquarters and the most important sacred space of the church. The study examines the various narratives that have been birthed within the RCCG to explain the pandemic as well as the responses, reactions and adjustments made to accommodate, or, in some cases, resist the government restrictions that have affected corporate worship - a significant ritual for many Christians.

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