NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 19 – A cross section of city churches reopened for in-person worship today, a week and a half after government allowed the phased resumption of congregational worship under strict COVID-19 containment guidelines.
A spot check by Capital FM News revealed Our Lady of Mercy Guadalupe Parish based in Adams Arcade, Light House Christian Church and Revival Sanctuary of Glory in Kawangware welcomed their congregants back to church after being closed for more than 90 days.
According to Our Lady of Mercy Guadalupe Parish Father Javier Gonzales, the church is now conducting 10 services in order to accommodate as many of its parishioners with congregations limited to a maximum of 100 worshipers within a period of not more than an hour.
“It was God’s will for us to get back to church and what we have decided now is that we are going to have 10 services in one day in order to accommodate everyone,” Fr Gonzales revealed.
The first services start at Our Lady of Mercy Guadalupe now starts at 7am while the last one begins at 5pm.
Religious leaders at Light House Christian Church and Revival Sanctuary of Glory in Kawangware however said they witnessed a low attendance.
Light House Christian Church Secretary Bridgit Mulanya said that the church is likely to maintain one service on Sunday due to the low attendance witnessed on the first day of resumption.
“We barely saw more than fifteen people attend our services today since majority of our members are mothers and are taking care of their younger children who cannot be allowed to come in,” Mulanya said.
“Only 30 people were here for our first and third service, majority of them are aged between 25-35, we suspect that people fear contracting the virus thus the low turnout witnessed today,” said Revival Sanctuary of Glory Pastor Martin Ng’ang’a.
The churches now require all their members to have their temperatures checked and sanitized before being allowed into the service.
Once the worship services are concluded, the members are required to leave the premises immediately to give room for the congregants who are coming in for the next slotted time of worship.
Other city churches however, among them Anglican’s mother-church All Saint Cathedral, Christ is the Answer Ministries, Parkland Baptist Church and Nairobi Chapel opted out of in-person worship sessions electing to broadcast services online and through television.
“We wish to inform you that after due consultation with the CITAM elders and the pastoral team, we are of the collective view that we should not reopen our assemblies immediately, this is especially in the interest of preserving lives in this period when the COVID-19 infections are rising sharply,” CITAM Presiding Bishop David Oginde said in a statement.
“We will not reopen immediately, we acknowledge that we have all missed physical gathering for worship but this decision is purely in the interest of being responsible in upholding the health of our congregants,” Nairobi Chapel Senior Pastor Nick Korir wrote to the church members.
Places of worship in Kenya were closed on March 22 in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19, which has disrupted livelihoods.