Image via Adobe Stock
Image via Adobe Stock
Churches appear to be bracing themselves for the acid test on Sunday to comply with government’s limitation of 100 people at gatherings in an attempt to stop the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Maranatha Reformed Church of Christ (MRCC) has warned that church services of more than 100 attendees are prohibited.
“Church services may continue this week. But we need to exercise caution. Congregations with more than 100 attendees should consider breaking services into two sessions or arrange services in wards [cell groups]”.
MRCC scribe Mokgethi Masenya encourages congregations with fewer members to “follow guidelines as stipulated in the MRCC document; the department of health documents, pamphlets and websites”.
“It is not necessary for a total shutdown of church services at the moment. We have guidelines prepared specifically for MRCC members to follow.”
He said members showing symptoms, or who suspected they had symptoms, to self-quarantine. “Members are encouraged to test when they suspect that they have any of the symptoms related to COVID-19.”
Furthermore, the SA Council of Churches recommended there should be a two-week shutdown of church service. A final decision was expected on Tuesday.
The International Pentecost Holiness Church (IPHC) said it had decided to implement a total shutdown of gatherings at the church’s 340 branches and headquarters with effect from March 19 until further notice.
The Mahikeng Ministers Fellowship (MMF) urged church leaders to uphold the permissible maximum 100 people for funerals, weddings, and services, and maintain social distancing regulations.
“The response of the church towards the measures must reflect the maturity, good, and responsible citizenship required to deal with this unprecedented global pandemic,” said chairperson pastor Moss Tlalang.
Tlalang appealed to churches to be creative and opt for technology and livestreaming broadcasts of services, as well as raising public awareness and support for preventative measures among congregants.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared COVID-19 a national emergency and prohibited gatherings of more than 100 people. At the time of publishing, South Africa had 240 confirmed cases.
On Saturday 21 March, global cases stood at 277 312 and 11 554 deaths. More than 91 000 people have recovered from the virus since the first cases were recorded in Wuhan, China.
African News Agency (ANA), editing by Jacques Keet