Don’t close churches, cleric tells State

Monday, March 29th, 2021 00:00 |
Empty pews during a virtual church service at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/PD/JOHN OCHIENG

 The Alliance of Registered Churches in Kenya (ARCK) has faulted the government’s directive to have places of worship closed in five counties that have been placed on lockdown.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday ordered that all worship places, in the five counties where movement into and out of has been restricted in response to the surge in Covid-19 cases, be suspended.

The five counties under lockdown are Nairobi, Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos and Nakuru.

Worshipers in other counties are allowed to attend physical worship sessions but must adhere to the safety measures set by the Health ministry.

The directive comes a week to the Easter weekend and close to the Holy Month of Ramadan.

Many Kenyans had planned to travel upcountry and to holiday destinations over the long Easter weekend.

Hundred people

The Presiding Bishop Hope of God Gospel Mission and Chairman Alliance of Registered Churches Kenya (ARCK) Rt Rev Samuel Manyonyi Welimo said 100 people should be allowed to physically attend worship sessions.

“We advise the State not close places of worship but instead allow capacity of 100 or a number which can fit a particular place of worship,” he said.

Third wave

Rev Welimo (pictured) also said the government should have given Kenyans two to three days to prepare before the lockdown took effect.

This, he said, would have enabled many people to make travel arrangements and avoid confusion.

The cleric said the government should allow the power of God operate in the country through his worshipers as one way of healing the nation.

“The virus that seems to be particularly severe during this third wave will not disappear overnight.

I want to remind my fellow clerics in the Interfaith Council that Covid-19 is going to be in our midst like malaria, HIV/Aids and other diseases for a long time. The worship of our Lord and life must continue,” he said.

Rev Welimo said only the hand of God and prayers by worshipers can save the country from the pandemic.

“No Doctor nor human knowledge can finish this pandemic that is beyond human knowledge.

Let us return to God and speak the truth and love one another. God is going to heal the country,” he said.

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