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Thursday, 28 May 2020

CAN: We are expecting churches to reopen by first week in June

CAN: We are expecting churches to reopen by first week in June

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has suggested guidelines for the reopening of churches in the first week of June.

There has been a ban on large gatherings and open worship announced by various state governments amid the coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement on Thursday, Samson Ayokunle, CAN president, said discussions are ongoing with the federal government for the reopening of churches.

He said such move would allow “congregational cry unto God over the pandemic.”

Ayokunle said CAN has developed suggested guidelines for worship centres in containing the spread of COVID-19.

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“We are discussing with the federal government on the re-opening of the churches nationwide. We know the danger of COVID-19 is not over yet but we are thinking that if we engage this method of congregational cry unto God over the pandemic, God would hear our prayers,” the statement read.

“The government from our discussions wants us to draw up suggested guidelines for worship in keeping with COVID-19 containment requirements and submit for approval.

“Below is a draft which I want you to see and possibly add to, if there is any remaining. Quick response is important because I and the Sultan of Sokoto would hold a zoom meeting with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation this week. We hope that latest by the first week in June, we would be back in churches nationwide.”

Highlighting the guidelines, Ayokunle said churches will disinfect their premises, as well as make provisions for alcohol sanitisers, among others.

The CAN president also suggested the use of face masks and adherence to other social distancing measures.

“The suggested guidelines: Churches should disinfect their premises first before they are reopened for services,” it read.

“Churches should provide alcoholic sanitizers, temperature readers, soap and water in their Premises to be supervised by medical professionals in the Church.

“Every worshipper must either use soap to wash their hands or apply sanitizers.

“The temperature  of every worshipper must be taken before admission into the church and people with the high temperature should not be allowed into the church but be advised to go and see their doctors.

“Every worshipper must wear facemask. Social distancing should be observed in the sitting arrangement with one meter gap between two worshippers.

“One and a half hour service is enough for a start. There should  be a gap of 25 or 30 minutes between one service and another where there are multiple services to avoid crowd.

“Churches can make use of classrooms and multipurpose halls for services where available, especially in big churches in order to accommodate more worshippers at a go. TV circuit and speakers can be used for those who are not inside the main auditorium.

“Handshaking and hugging should be avoided before, during and after the service. Prayers should be offered to God for a speedy end of COVID-19 and quick recovery of all that are afflicted by the pandemic. Prayers should also be offered for those frontline workers for divine protection.

“CAN in each state and local government should constitute a committee together with law enforcement agencies in their area to enforce full compliance.

Such civilian compliance officials should be given backing by the governments to apprehend those who contravene the worship regulations and hand them over to law enforcement agents.

“Churches observing Holy Communion service should use separate cup for each participant.”

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