Low turnout as churches resume Sunday services
Alvin Mwangi, Roy Lumbe and Mathew Ndung’u
The re-opening of places of worship in the five counties where movement had been restricted was yesterday marked with a low turnout.
A spot check by People Daily in several churches in Nairobi, Nakuru and Kiambu counties showed that most churches were operating below the one-third capacity directed by the government.
“We want to thank President Kenyatta for listening to us and allowing us back to church. We are willing to cooperate with the government to fight the disease.
We have numbered all our benches to ensure we have met the required rule of social distancing,” said Bishop Peter Gatimu of Apostolic Faith Church Bahati in Nairobi.
Bishop Gatimu said their services were now reduced to one hour per session.
“As a church, we play a big role in shaping the moral fabric of society,” added Bishop Gatimu.
At Holy Family Basilica, there was full compliance as Pews were marked with only two congregants allowed to sit per bench.
The same was the situation at the All Saints Cathedral where congregants were keen to observe the protocols.
“We really yearned to be back in church,” Mike Muchiri a member of the church said.
During his address at the weekend, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed that churches should resume worship under strict adherence of the laid out protocols.
In Kiambu county, dozens of worshipers who attended services were required to strictly observe Covid-19 guidelines.
Most of the faithful who spoke to People Daily said they were eagerly awaiting the reopening, while a section had reservations, citing increasing cases of the disease.
“We are excited that the government allowed us back to our sanctuaries for worship,” James Kaguchia, a faithful said.
However, in Gatundu North sub-county, some of the churches remained deserted while some registered a low turnout.
Most elders said they will only resume church services when Kenya is declared free of the pandemic.
“We cannot expose ourselves. We still pray and worship but from home,” an elderly woman from Kariua village said.
In major towns such as Thika, Ruiru, Githurai and Juja, church operations resumed.
According to Glory Outreach Assembly International bishop David Munyiri Thagana, the government did the right thing to open church operations as the country was heading in the wrong direction in many spheres.
In Nakuru, the clergy said the decision to reopen places of worship was a wise one.
Bishop Mike Brawan of Nakuru’s Metro Church International said the Church has been at the forefront in observing Covid-19 protocols hence there was no need to ban congregational worship.