Faith council increases worship hours

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020 00:00 |
Members of the interfaith council led by chair Archbishop Antony Muheria addresses the press yesterday in Nairobi where they gave updates on safe-phased reopening of worship places. Photo/PD/John Ochieng

The Inter-Faith Council (IFC) yesterday  doubled the number of worship hours after the government permitted faith institutions to add the figure of congregants to a third of their auditorium sitting capacity.

Inter-Faith Council chairman Archbishop Anthony Muheria also announced that the number of people allowed to attend weddings and funerals had also increased from an earlier cap of 100 to 200.

In the new guidelines released yesterday, the council said that time limitation on funerals has been reviewed to two hours with grave side rites limited to 50 persons while food will only be served to extended family members.

“We know how the last six months have been filled with fears, anxiety and sufferings.

We however also celebrate the great sense of solidarity we all have experienced,” Muheria said.

The government had imposed restrictions on the number of people allowed in funerals to stop the spread of Covid-19.

While issuing further guidance on congregational worship, Archbishop Anthony Muheria said children aged six years and above will now be allowed to attend church services down from 13 years set during the first phase of Covid-19 restrictions.

In the Phase II worship places reopening guidelines scheduled to kick in on October 2, Muheria also announced that group meetings and special service for youth and special groups will be allowed provided they follow the provided set protocols.

“We will now welcome the elderly of over 65 years and young ones under six years to the worship,” he said.

According to Muheria, allowing group meetings will play a big role in providing a platform where parents will have an opportunity to address the issue of moral decadence that has rocked the majority of the young people.

Providing platform

“We now have a big opportunity to address the underlying social problems involving our youth in educative and empowering spiritual ministry programmes that will strengthen them and recover them from social ills,” he said.

Muheria noted that whereas the fight against the virus in the country has largely been successful, there was need to maintain adherence to Covid-19 to safeguard gains made so far.

Muheria also warned politicians against using funerals to make statements.

“We must reclaim the meaning of funerals as prayer gatherings not to be used for political platforms. Funerals must return to being funerals,” he said.

At the same time, the council urged politicians to suspend political gatherings, despite the loosening of restrictions announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday.

Muheria said it was imprudent for politicians to hold rallies yet Kenyans attend without observing social distancing rules and many do not wear masks.

“Don’t gamble with the lives of Kenyans. Consider putting all your political gatherings on hold until we are fully out of this corona pandemic,” he said.

The announcement follows the new guidelines on de-escalating Covid-19 containment measures announced by the President on Monday.

“In line with the recommendations of the Inter-Faith Council, the permitted maximum size of religious gatherings is increased to one-third of its normal sitting capacity; but with strict adherence to all applicable guidelines and protocols issued by the Ministry of Health,” said the President.

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