Pretoria – Churches reopening for larger groups of congregants have been encouraged to ensure they do not become the reason for the spike in Covid-19 infections.
SA Council of Churches general secretary Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana yesterday called for extra caution from churches looking to welcome the legal limit of 250 worshippers indoors or 500 for outdoors gatherings. He said the organisation may not be able to monitor all the churches, but it had issued a set of guidelines, norms and standards to help places of worship to “drive down the infections”.
Mpumlwana said most churches were now looking to open to bigger audiences, but with that came a responsibility for them to lead by example and abide by strict regulations to defeat the virus.
This, he explained, meant that churches had to make a decision whether they had the space and resources to worship in numbers without spreading the coronavirus.
“During lockdown level 3 we motivated the government to allow for 50 people to convene safely because we did not want places for worship completely closed.
“Now we are calling for extra caution and we want our people to know that the church should guarantee it can practise social distancing, high hygiene and ensure people are wearing masks. This way we will feel that the church is prioritising safety and ensuring that it also encouraged society to stick together in the fight against this virus.”
Mpumlwana said the organisation had ensured that the heads or churches held weekly meetings.
The churches were encouraged to have constant communication about Covid-19, create educational actions, establish pastoral care initiatives and start rebuilding to help deal with the challenges and societal inequalities exposed by Covid-19.