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TACKLING COVID-19

Consult widely on church reopening, council urged

Pentecostal church leaders call for inclusion of views of worshippers in the counties.

In Summary

• Committee tasked with recommending protocols for reopening of places of worship.

• National chairman of the Alliance of Registered Churches Bishop Samuel Welimo said the team should come up with recommendations that will accommodate everyone.

National chairman of the Alliance of Registered Churches in Kenya Bishop Samuel Welimo
CONCERNED: National chairman of the Alliance of Registered Churches in Kenya Bishop Samuel Welimo
Image: JOHN NALIANYA

The religious council that is deliberating on reopening of places of worship has been urged to consult churches in the counties before making recommendations.

Leaders of the Pentecostal Church on Tuesday said the council needs to get the views of all religious groups.

Addressing the press in Bungoma town, national chairman of the Alliance of Registered Churches Bishop Samuel Welimo said the team should come up with recommendations that will accommodate everyone.

Churches and mosques were closed by the government following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. The state has since appointed a team to come up with protocols for reopening.

"The team appointed doesn’t represent the views of the majority of Pentecostal churches," Welimo said.

"We will appreciate if views of the majority of churches under our different umbrellas are considered rather than relying on the appointed team alone."

Welimo was flanked by Pentecostal church leaders. They called for the reopening of churches without restrictions, saying the faithful will follow health guidelines.

"We recommend that the national council of religious leaders have an oversight council at the county level to help advise us at the ground," Welimo said.

The leaders said the council should come up with ways of ensuring the health guidelines are strictly adhered to.

“Checks and balances should be done by a government team and religious appointees at the ground, not the government alone. Why? Because you can't govern and at the same time oversee what you don't understand," Welimo said.

He is the presiding bishop of Hope of God Mission Church. He asked the state to also supervise political gatherings, markets, bars and restaurants saying Covid-19 does not only apply to churches.

"Church is a healing point for every situation. The church should be given freedom of worship as it has been in the past," Welimo said.

The church leaders asked the Ministry of Health to release asymptomatic patients of Covid-19 with strict self-isolation conditions.

"If we change our mindsets from the way we see this Covid-19 and treat the disease like HIV-Aids or Ebola among other pandemics, then we will see the country moving forward in a normal way," Welimo said.

 

Edited by P.O