NO PUBLIC GATHERINGS

Lift ban on church services, pastors tell Uhuru

The preachers want the church listed among essential service providers

In Summary
  • Pastors say church is the last place of hope and a safe haven for downtrodden and stricken. 
  • They condemn excessive use of force by police officers while enforcing the curfew. 
Deputy President William Ruto during a Sunday service at the PCEA Kasuku, Oljororok, Nyandarua county, on June 9, 2019
WORSHIP: Deputy President William Ruto during a Sunday service at the PCEA Kasuku, Oljororok, Nyandarua county, on June 9, 2019
Image: DPPS

Makueni pastors have asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to rescind the ban on public gatherings including church services in a bid to contain the spread of Covid-19. 

The pastors want the church listed among essential service providers.

Speaking at a meeting in Wote town on Thursday, the men and women of cloth said the church was the last place of hope, resilience and a safe haven to the downtrodden and those stricken by any form of calamity.

“Biblically speaking and throughout church history, any plague that befell the people, the church offered the much the needed solution. It is sad that in the current situation, the church has been left out closed and thus we feel as a country we may be involved in a futile exercise,” said Titus Uswii, secretary of Makueni County Pastors forum. 

The pastors said given the opportunity to operate, the church had the ability to self-regulate to ensure social distancing for the safety of congregants.

The government has banned public gatherings including churches, markets, funerals and weddings in bid to contain the spread of coronavirus that has ravaged the whole world. 

Pastor Uswii asked the government to examine public transport, boda bodas, taxis, hotels, shops, boutiques and salons operating within given guidelines, saying the church was able to manage their followers better than those businesses.

“This includes adjusting the sitting arrangements to observe the one metre apart rule, increasing the number of services to avoid congestion or even conducting our services out in the church compound with a limited number of members,” Uswii said.

The pastors invited the government to an open discussion over the issues.

They condemned the excessive use of force by police officers while enforcing the curfew.

The objective of the curfew was to fight the spread of Covid-19 and not civil unrest, they said. 

“President Kenyatta did not introduce a curfew because there was civil unrest or there were people fighting to overthrow the government. The police should enforce the curfew in a humane way,” Uswii said. 

They asked the government to restrain security officers from harassing or arresting their colleagues while in church offices where the pastors work from.

They said pastors had a duty to report to work at their stations in the church like Kenyans working in other areas.

“According to the Bible, pastors are watchmen who need to be allowed to continue keeping watch over the church and eventually the entire nation. They should have been listed at the top of essential service providers at this critical moment, pastor Jedidiah said.

Pastor Mutisya said they should be allowed to visit the sick at their isolation centres to pray and give them hope.

“When solutions cannot be found by human effort or knowledge, when things are not moving, when foundations are shattered, when the government has no solution, people are referred to the men of God for counselling, guidance and healing,” Mutisya said.

Edited by Henry Makori