Churches go online after State directive on social distancing
By James Wanzala
| March 22nd 2020
Churches have adopted technology to ensure their members do not miss the services in the wake of coronavirus fears.
On a normal Saturday, St Andrew’s Seventh Day Adventist church(SDA) Nairobi Central is fully packed. However, yesterday, things were different and only a few members were in the church attending the service that was streamed live online.
“We have obeyed the government’s directive on social distancing, we will do this next Saturday also until we are sure the virus has been contained,” said Mr Ken Manyala, one of the deacons at the church.
The church issued a statement on Friday suspending its weekly services for two weeks.
“The decision further affects any other church programmes that require members to congregate. This, therefore means cancellation of all wedding ceremonies, funeral services, Holy Communion services, and baptism among others as would be facilitated by the church. We will, however, continue ministering to you all through our online service platforms Facebook and YouTube,” read part of the statement.
Christ Is The Answer Ministries (CITAM), Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA), All Saints Cathedral and Nairobi Lighthouse will also hold their Sunday services online. Other churches such the Deliverance church Umoja, in Nairobi have defied government’s directive saying the will conduct services usual.
“We want to reiterate that nobody is being forced to come to church, we shall be open as usual and you are welcomed. The services shall be short and brief and there will be space because we have rearranged the seats so that you sit with no one touching you,” said the church’s leader Bishop JB Masinde. Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops has taken a similar stance.
Free Pentecost Fellowship in Kenya (FPFK) through its General Secretary, Bishop Walter Andhoga advised member churches to abide by the government’s directive on observation proper hygiene and to assess the situation on whether to close the churches or not.
“FFPK would like to advise members and member churches to abide by what the government has said and follow all safety precautions given by the Ministry of Health.
Each Local Assembly is advised to assess the situation on the ground and if and when necessary suspend church services and Bible study groups. We urge all churches to ensure there is provision of sanitisers, soap and running water for hand-washing to ensure that the members are protected,” read part of the statement.
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe put churches and other religious organisations on notice that the law will catch up with them if they continued defying health measures issued by the government. Mosques have also suspended services until further notice.
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