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Court declines to lift ban on congregational church worship

NAIROBI, Kenya, April 24 – The High Court Wednesday dismissed an application made to lift ban of congregational church services directing religious leaders to instead broadcast church services online and through other media channels.

In his ruling, Justice James Makau asserted that a directive by the health ministry banning religious and social gatherings will remain in force to contain the spread of coronavirus.

“I direct alternative forms of worship such as broadcasting the church service without breach of the government directives or regulations currently in force do proceed through online or social media or any other form of social platform the petitioner may access,” he ruled.

The judge was quick to clarify the order strictly forbids gatherings in church, including by religious leaders, contrary to health ministry guidelines.

“This order should not in any way be taken as allowing the petitioners or any party to hold church gatherings or act contrary to the directives or regulations given currently by the government.”

In their petition, Don Mutugi, Joan Miriti and Alex Gichunge wanted churches services be allowed on specific days to allow church elders and leaders be part of the services.

“That Church service be allowed on specific days to allow the various churches to broadcast to their faithful congregants without victimization and harassment of the broadcasting crew and congregants who will be part of the church service,” part of the petition read.

They also wanted government to issue new guidelines on social distance for church elders, and leaders must observe in order to control the spread of coronavirus as the State relaxes rules restrictions on church meetings.

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