Tag Archives: church

COVID-19: Lagos churches reopen

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Worship centres in Lagos have re-opened partially across the state today, after being locked down for several months in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

This follows the directive announced by governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on august the 1st with the provision that worship centers can only fill up 50 per cent of their capacity.

The state government last Thursday released several safety protocols and guidelines numbering 46 that must be adhered to during services at places of worship in the first phase.

Worshippers are seen maintaining their social distance as they partake in worship on Sunday.
Commissioner for home affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, further revealed that the state is not interested in sanctioning any religious house but will encourage them to comply with guidelines for reopening of worship centers.

In a similar vein, the Federal Ministry of Health has urged places of worship to ensure that their members worship in well-ventilated spaces.

According to a Twitter post by the Health Ministry, all worshipers are enjoined to continue their worship safely by maintaining a distance of 2 metres from others.


#Newsworthy…

Lagos govt announces reopening date for worship centres

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The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu says places of worship in the state will be reopened from August 7.

Sanwo-Olu disclosed this during a briefing on COVID-19 at the State House in Marina.

While mosques will be reopened next week Friday, the governor said churches will follow suit on Sunday, August 9.

According to him, religious leaders must make available hand sanitisers, thermometer guns, adding that the state government will ensure that social distancing is maintained.

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“Places of worship in Lagos will now be opened from Friday, August 7 for our Muslim worshippers and on Sunday, August 9 for our Christian worshippers.

“We will only be allowing 50 per cent of their capacity at either the church or the mosque. Churches that have Saturday worship day will also be allowed to start holding their Saturday worship.

“We must reiterate that places of worship are only permitted to have their regular once a week service on designated days.

For the avoidance of doubt, there will be Friday worship for our Muslim followers and Sunday worship for our Christian followers,” he said.

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The governor vowed that the state government will closely monitor and observe the compliance level of religious bodies before taking the next steps.

Decrease In Positive Cases

On the level of COVID-19 cases in the state, Governor Sanwo-Olu announced that the past two weeks witnessed a decline in fresh infections.

While noting that the state government successfully tested 9,000 samples in the week ending July 26, the governor explained the figures represented 50 per cent increase in the 6,000 tested samples in the preceding week.

According to him, more testing of suspected COVID-19 cases have been made possible with the creation of additional laboratories in the state.

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He is however optimistic that the state is winning the battle against the dreaded virus owing to the increase in the number of tested samples.

“We must, however, mention that we have seen a gradual decrease in the positivity rate in Lagos State over the last two weeks which combines with our increase in the testing numbers.

“We will continue to fine-tune our strategy and our efforts to build on our successes and close all existing gaps if any.”

Meanwhile, in a fresh statistics released by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Friday night, Lagos recorded 78 fresh COVID-19 cases trailing the FCT with 93 cases.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Continuous lockdown on worship centres unacceptable – CAN

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The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has declared that the continuous COVID-19 lockdown order placed on worship centres by some states unacceptable and unreasonable.

The declaration was made on Tuesday by the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Ayokunle, who called on state governments yet to reopen worship centres to do so immediately.

Rev. Ayokunle who made the call in a statement in Abuja issued by his Special Assistant, (Media and Communications), Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, said that the continued lockdown order on places of worship is no longer acceptable and reasonably justified.

The statement reads thus in full; “The President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), His Eminence, Rev Dr Samson ‘Supo Ayokunle, on behalf of the Association, has called on all State governments that are yet to reopen churches under their watches to do so now because the continued lockdown order on the places of worship is no longer acceptable and reasonably justified.

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“Despite the directive given by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 with regards to the re-opening of places of worship nationwide, some states like Lagos and Ogun are yet to allow worship places, especially churches, to be reopened. What sin have the places of worship committed?

CAN President, Rev. Supo Ayokunle

“With the sudden emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) at all levels, agreed with the government on the need to close down the places of worship, economy, schools and every other facet of life.

“But with the reopening of the economy, especially the markets (both organized and the unorganised markets) along with the plan to reopen airports and schools, the closure of churches anywhere in the country is no longer tenable and acceptable. In what way are the opened and road side markets more organized than the church which warranted their opening?

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“Is it not our members in the places of worship that do go to markets and other sectors opened? Why are they allowed to go to markets and disallowed from going to places of worship? Is it because the marketers cannot contact the virus in the markets and airports?

“It is our opinion that while the government and other relevant stakeholders are working hard to get cure for the COVID-19 pandemic, the Church too has a role to play by seeking for divine solutions as well”.

He also appealed to the Lagos, Ogun and other state governments where churches are still under lockdown to: “relax it for God’s sake”.

Ayokunle said: “As much as we believe that COVID-19 deserves attention, it is our belief that the affected state governments would not turn a deaf ear to our quest but allow worshippers to return to places of worship”.


#Newsworthy…

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Boss Mustapha, others attend Church service – pray against COVID-19

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The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, other government officials and Christian leaders on Sunday attended the interdenominational church prayer service against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The service is the culmination of three days of fasting and prayer organised by the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council.

Meanwhile, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 had asked Christians and Muslims to resort to prayers as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise across the country.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha

An Islamic prayer was held on Friday in Abuja where special prayers were rendered against the deadly virus.

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This comes as the nation records 603 more COVID-19 cases, raising the nation’s total confirmed infections above the 28,000 mark.

According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), 28,167 people have been confirmed to have the virus out of which 634 people have lost their lives.

A breakdown of the figure of new cases shows that of the 18 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos has the highest with 135.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Oyedepo blast FG, fault continuous church ban.

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The Presiding Bishop of the Living Faith Church International, popularly known as Winners’ Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo, yesterday, condemned the continuous closure of churches, saying that COVID-19 has suddenly become an anti-church virus.

The cleric, in a sermon tagged “Breaking Invisible Barrier,” wondered why schools are closed because of the virus, but children go to the markets hawking and helping their parents.

He wondered why places, where healings take place (the churches), are shut but markets, where diseases could easily be spread, are opened. Oyedepo, therefore, noted that there were unseen forces behind the closure of the churches and Christians must rise to pray.

He said: “What they called coronavirus has suddenly become anti-church virus. The market places are rocking, people are running over themselves, physical distancing is zero, hand washing is zero, yet, coronavirus doesn’t go there; it only goes to the churches.

“I know that the gods of the land are behind this; some merchants of evil are behind this. But it is a hard thing for any man, no matter the backing he may have, to kick against the bricks. The church where healing takes place around the world is shut down and the market places where diseases are easily spread is opened. There are some states in Nigeria that have opened activities some weeks ago, and there are no high cases recorded. Even one state in the North that has the worst case has opened up a long time ago.

“This is an anti-church virus and the God of the church of Christ neither sleeps nor slumber. As of today, we have 114 clear cases of coronavirus healing testimony and there are many churches where healings take place by the word of God and not diabolical means.”
Is that where to shut down?”


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Traffic in COZA amid Biodun Fatoyinbo’s first Church Service

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Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo of the Common Wealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) held their first services on Sunday since the COVID-19 lockdown started and the outcome was massive.

NRM recounts that the federal government recently lifted the ban on religious gatherings across the country after an imposed two months ban issued two months ago to curb the spread of Coronavirus.

Having missed attending church for so long, the members excitedly trooped out in numbers to attend the services on Sunday.

From the photos shared online, it can be seen that the church closely followed all the instructions given by the Federal Government on the reopening of churches.

Recall with Noble Reporters Media that the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Sani Aliyu, during a briefing in Abuja weeks ago had announced the instructions for the reopening of churches thus:

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“All places of worship must sign up to full compliance with all aspects of non-pharmaceutical interventions required to protect the public from COVID-19 including but not limited to ensuring the supply of running water and soap, alcohol sanitisers at entry and exit points in all high contact locations including bathrooms.

“Worshippers must sanitise their hands before entry.

“Worshippers must have temperature checks before entry and the supervision and the enforcement of this will be led by the leaders of these facilities.

“Use of face masks is mandatory.

“Strongly discourage all close contacts including shaking hands, hugging, using prayer mats, musical organs, microphones etc.

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“The capacity of the facility should be limited to allow physical distancing of at least two meters between persons.

“Facilities should consider the use of cloth or surface markings to guide distancing and people from the same household should be encouraged to stay together.

“Local arrangements will apply to the capacity of these facilities but the most important thing is to make sure that the physical distancing rule applies.

“Local authorities will be advised in terms of areas of hotspots that might require greater restrictions

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“Volunteers should be limited to exact numbers needed and none of the volunteers should have underlying medical conditions or be above the age of 55 years.

“Responsibility for enforcement will be with the leadership, church or mosque committees and supported by local authorities including state governments.

“Churches to open from 5am and close by 8pm.

“For churches, each service should be for a maximum of an hour with an interval of thirty minutes in between services to allow time for disinfection.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Lagos interrupt plan to reopen Worship Centres

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The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced the decision to stop the planned reopening of worship centers (mosques and churches ) on Friday, June 19 and Sunday, June 21.

The governor made this known at a press briefing on Tuesday.

According to him, the development is as a result of the rising cases of COVID-19 in the state.

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On Monday, Nigeria recorded a total of 573 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 16,658.

As has become normal, Lagos reported the highest figures with 216 new cases, bringing the total number of cases in the state 7,319.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Reopening guidelines – way to strangle Church – Pst. Effiong

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The new guidelines issued by the Akwa Ibom state government for churches to commence physical services in the state has been described by the Pastor of the International Worship Centre, Christ Embassy, Uyo, Pastor Emmanuel Effiong, as another attempt to gag churches in the country.

The guidelines were issued by the state government after due consultation with the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, led by Rev. Dr Nduese Ekwere, as a means of containing the coronavirus pandemic in the state.

Reacting to the guidelines in a statement, Pastor Effiong, said the CAN’s agreement with the government on the guidelines would not be binding on members of the church.

He added that the use of face masks throughout the congregational worship as stipulated in the guidelines exposes worshippers to health hazards, noting that the seating arrangement of not more than 200 no matter the size of the church is a clear attempt to gag the church.

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Making reference to the Nigerian Constitution to buttress his points, Effiong said the guidelines issued by the state government was against the fundamental right to worship and made it difficult to exercise one’s faith as a Christian.

He said, “Our church is a global ministry and we do not believe or advocate unionism, rather we believe in the unity of faith. Today, we state without equivocation that we are not members of CAN or any other association in the country and as such hold the strong belief that we cannot and should not be bounded by whatever decision the association reaches out with government.

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“While we do not question the right of anybody or churches forming association nor are we against CAN or any association setting up guidelines for their members, it is unacceptable to believe that such guidelines will be binding on non-members of their groups.

“The use of face masks for the entire duration of congregational worship is an act, which has been scientifically proven to be hazardous to the health as uninterrupted use of face masks over a long period of time may cause hypoxia- the absence of oxygen to sustain bodily functions.

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“Also, we are expected not to sit more than 200 worshippers during each church service, among others. This is a clear attempt to gag the church.”

The Founder of Christ Embassy, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome had earlier lashed out at Church leaders who agreed with the government to shut down churches to halt the spread of Coronavirus.


#Newsworthy…

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CAN express concern as Church reopens

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The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Kaduna State chapter has asked worshippers to be extremely careful as they attend churches in order to minimize the risk of contracting the deadly coronavirus.

CAN urged Christian faithful to use the reopening of places of worship in the state to exhibit good conduct and to strictly observe all the protocols including the washing of hands, social distancing, wearing of face masks and other rules associated with the curbing of the spread of COVID-19.

The state chairman of CAN, Rev. John Joseph Hayab, in a statement made available to DAILY POST in Kaduna, on Wednesday, said, CAN Kaduna state wishes to appreciate the state Governor and the State Standing Committee on COVID-19 for allowing places of worship to reopen from Sunday this week (14th June) after a long and eventful lockdown enforced to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

The statement explained, “We know that people have stayed under restrictions for about 75 days. During the period, many experienced hardships, but it should not be a regrettable experience because it actually helped to reduce the number of persons infected, and we recorded a lower death rate in our dear state.”

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The statement said that as the state government allows citizens to resume partial normal life activities, especially resuming church gatherings, CAN, Kaduna state appeals to all faithful and the general public to show good and godly examples.

“The Bible says we should let our light shine that all may see our good works and give glory to God. Accordingly, our people should not be carried away by the joy of lifting the restriction of movement and totally forget health matters, for it is only when there is a life that we can worship and do our businesses,” CAN advised.
CAN, therefore, called on all pastors and church elders to give godly and wise leadership at this delicate time, stressing that churches must continue to observe all protocols and guidelines that have been laid down by the government and NCDC.

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“All worshipers should come with their face masks during services. Churches should help to provide face masks to those who do not have and cannot afford.

“Adequate provision of hand sanitizers or handwashing materials should be made available in our homes and churches during our worship services.

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“We should maintain good hygiene at all times and observe physical distancing in our sitting arrangements. Worshipers are to sit two meters away from one another.

“Let’s make good use of our members who are medical workers for proper use of Infrared thermometer to measure the temperature of every worshiper,” CAN further advised.


#Newsworthy…

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Church can’t be open for 1 hour while market is open for hours – Oyedepo slam FG.

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Nigerian preacher and the founder of the megachurch Faith Tabernacle, Bishop David Oyedepo has again lashed out at the government for opening markets for hours and church for only one hour.

According to Oyedepo, there’s been no Coronavirus outbreak in states where churches have been allowed to reopen, as he criticised the federal government over stalling the reopening of churches to curb the spread of Coronavirus.

As we all know, churches were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, though some states have reopened them.

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He also compared the vulnerability of churches and markets after he alleged that religious centers were directed not to hold services for more than one hour while markets are allowed to open for eight hours.

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The founder of Living Faith Church a.k.a Winners Chapel also stated that there might soon be a “preaching censorship board” with the recent directives issued by leaders in the country.

Bishop Oyedepo insisted that the “enemy” is fighting against reopening of churches, sarcastically asked if people won’t go on with their lives even if a family member dies. He also recalled how he went back to school after his classmate died in class.


#Newsworthy

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Wives of Pastors should resist pride and arrogance – Oyedepo’s wife preaches.

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Wife of the Presiding Bishop of Living Faith Church Worldwide, also known as Winners’ Chapel International, Faith Oyedepo, has advised wives of preachers against arrogance and pride.

Mrs Oyedepo, who is also Senior Pastor of Faith Tabernacle, Canaanland, Ota, the church’s headquarters in Ogun State, tweeted this on Sunday night.

She wrote: “As the wife of a pastor, evangelist, Bishop etc, resist every tendency for arrogance, pride and haughty spirit, (Proverbs 5:33). As you humble yourself, God will make the grace required available for you to function effectively.”

David Oyedepo and Faith got married in 1982. They have four children together, David Jr, Isaac, Love and Joyce.


#Newsworthy…

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Nigerian govt might ban worship centres again – PTF reveal reasons.

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The Federal Government has threatened to review the relaxation of the restriction placed on churches and mosques if worshippers disregard its guidelines.
This comes shortly after the Federal Government reopened worship centres.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said this on Thursday at the task force press conference in Abuja.

He also lamented that some Nigerians, who tested positive for the virus, refused to go into isolation.

Read Also

Churches, Mosques to begin service?

In the guidelines, the task force advises vulnerable people including those with conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer as well as people that are above 55 years to worship at home.

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On Thursday, Mustapha said the task force would continue to explain the guidelines it issued to worship centres and other public places.

On the reopening of churches and mosques, he stated, “As we approach the weekend, we remind the public to be aware of the guidelines set for restricted opening of places of worship. National guidelines have been shared with the states and we expect that protocols will be agreed with religious leaders. Compliance is important so as to avoid unwanted consequences that put the lives of people at risk of contracting COVID-19. We urge utmost caution at all times.

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“The PTF will continue to monitor the overall compliance to the easing of restriction as well as evolution of the outbreak. However, we will not hesitate to review as we progress, should the situation warrant, to avoid preventable risks of transmission.”

Mustapha restated that the World Health Organization had resumed the clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine, which it suspended on May 25.


#Newsworthy…

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With Atiku, Churches May Soon Be ‘Empty’ – Tunde Bakare

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Latter Rain Assembly President, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has warned that Churches may soon be empty.

He gave the warning on The Future of Faith Instagram Live with Chude Jideonwo.

Bakare spoke on governance and the responsibility of the church amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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He stressed that the church is a body that is required in these trying times to show up for its members.

Read Also

Femi Adesina replies Pst, Tunde Bakare says Buhari won’t choose his successor

“The church, which is you and I and the millions of Christians in this country, has one duty; to nourish the body of Christ, honor and serve it. That is you and I.

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“If the church does not do its duty, it will soon be empty and cockroaches and spiders will take over,” Bakare said.

On his presidential ambition, Bakare mentioned that in the 2011 elections, he was “pressured to run with Atiku.”

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He said God’s counsel to him has remained that his political career is not over.

The cleric added that the counsel also included that he will be called upon for more responsibilities and he is obligated to answer.

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The conversation also touched on gender and the state of violence against women.

It also discussed the role of religion in the continued subjugation of women and how women continue to suffer violence at the hands of men.


#Newsworthy…

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Sanwo olu speak on when Lagos churches should reopen. | Details

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Lagos state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has just revealed the date for the reopening of worship centers in the state.

Lagos state has over 5,440 confirmed cases of coronavirus, making it the epicenter of the virus in Nigeria.

Sanwo-Olu releases date for reopening of Churches, mosques in Lagos lailasnews

According to the state governor, mosques are to reopen from June 19 while churches are to begin services from June 21.

Read Also:

Why Lagos Churches, Mosques won’t reopen despite National ban lift.

The governor gave this announcement on Thursday during a briefing at the Government House, Marina.

Sanwo-Olu also stated that children below age of 15 should not be allowed at religious gatherings which have been restricted to Fridays and Sundays.

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On Monday, the federal government lifted the ban on religious gatherings across the country. The ban was imposed two months back to curb the spread of coronavirus in Nigeria.

The Federal Government had few days back instructed that duration for each church service must not exceed an hour.

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This was disclosed in a statement by the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Sani Aliyu, while rolling out guidelines for the reopening of worship centres, in a press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday.

“Churches to open from 5am and close by 8pm. For churches, each service should be for a maximum of an hour with an interval of thirty minutes in between services to allow time for disinfection.” he said


#Newsworthy…

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As Church resumes, Lagos Catholic Archdiocese set guidelines


TO ALL PRIESTS AND RELIGIOUS WORKING IN THE ARCHDIOCESE OF LAGOS, AND THE LAY FAITHFUL

Dear Msgri. /Frs., Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
GUIDELINES TOWARDS THE GRADUAL RESTORATION OF PUBLIC MASSES AND CELEBRATION OF OTHER SACRAMENTS

There is no doubt that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still very much with us. Day by day, we continue to receive news of increase in the number of infected persons and deaths from complications arising from infections with the virus. However, as government and the people continue in their efforts to curtail the spread of the virus, it has become necessary to move on with our lives while trying our best to remain safe and healthy.

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As Catholics, we maintain that celebration of the Sacraments and other acts of worship are not just important for our overall well-being as Catholic Christians, they are also an integral part of our lives that we cannot do without. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everything, even our liturgical worship. We have been forced to participate in Masses via the television and on the internet. However, visual worship cannot substitute worship in physical presence.

We have been in dialogue with other Christians on the one hand and with government on the other hand. From these engagements, we have indications that the restrictions imposed in the wake of COVID-19 would be lifted soon. It has therefore become necessary that we give the following Guidelines as we implement a gradual restoration of public Mass in our Archdiocese:

  1. Requirements of Churches and Places of Worship.
    a. Church premises and environment must be clean at all times
    b. Parishes should ensure well ventilated spaces for worship at all times.
    c. Hand washing facilities i.e. running water and soap at the entry point and strategic places within the church premises.
    d. Hand Sanitizers must be provided at major entrances to Church premises.
    e. Proper refuse bins should be put in place within church premises and the surrounding so that people can properly dispose tissue paper/face mask.
    f. Parishes should have designated points for entry and exit clearly designated.
    g. Trained personnel are to check body temperature at entry points.
    h. Hygiene personnel to disinfect chairs, door handles and surface arears in the church at regular intervals.
    i. Arrangement/demarcation of pews to accommodate physical distancing of 2meters/6 feet in front, beside and behind worshippers.
    j. We have advocated that the size of the Church and the compliance with the 2meters distancing in front, beside and behind each worshipper should determine the number of worshippers to be present at each Mass. However, we await government announcement to determine the number that would be gathered at any single celebration.
  2. Procedures and Protocols
    a. Anyone coming into the church premises must wear a face mask.
    b. Anyone coming into the church premises must submit to body temperature check.
    c. After the temperature check at the gate, parishioners should sanitize their hands before entering the church premises
    d. Attendance at Mass should be strictly under the direction and supervision of the Parish Priest who must ensure that there is a record of Parishioners that attend each Mass. This he can ensure either through the use of the Parish Database in determining those who attend or through decisions on who comes from the Small Christian Communities. Or else, leaders of Associations of Lay faithful may be directed to form their members into groups to determine those that would attend which of the Masses on different Sundays. Parishes should use whichever procedure suits their situations as long as they ensure that they keep to the numbers and keep a list of names and information on those at each Mass.
    e. Public Masses are to be celebrated on SUNDAYS ONLY for now and between 7am and 3pm in order to ensure that people do not break the curfew. Priests are strongly encouraged to maximize this period to make more Masses available for the faithful.
    f. The following categories of persons who are generally recognized as being more vulnerable to infection are dispensed from their obligation to attend Sunday Mass. They are therefore STRONGLY ADVISED TO STAY AT HOME:
    i. The elderly, above 70 years,
    ii. Children below 10 years
    iii. Nursing mothers
    iv. Those who feel sick
    v. Those who don’t feel safe or comfortable enough to gather in a crowd even with the precautions we have put in place.
  3. Particular Liturgical Practices and Actions
    a. Only Priests should celebrate Mass without wearing masks. Other liturgical ministers on the Sanctuary should wear face masks.
    b. Where processions are to be made, the shortest possible route is to be used and they should be with the ministers in a single file with the required physical distance maintained.
    c. The number of Ministers on the sanctuary should be reduced to the barest minimum. A lector and two Mass servers at most is recommended.
    d. There should be minimal contact between the ministers on the sanctuary; their sitting positions should be arranged bearing the required physical distance in mind.
    e. Proper hygiene should be observed in the use of the microphone. Where possible, more microphones should be used by each minister.
    f. ALL offertory collections (1st, 2nd and Thanksgiving) should be taken up only and ONLY AFTER Holy Communion. This is to ensure that the faithful whose hands have been sanitized would have received Holy Communion on their palms before touching money again with their hands.
    g. For offertory collections, offertory baskets or collection bags with a long handle should be used, with physical distance always maintained. Alternatively, parishioners may go to the front of the sanctuary to give their offerings while maintaining physical distance.
    h. There would be no offertory procession. The gifts for the Eucharist should be left on the Credence Table from where Altar Servers would bring them to the Priest for preparation.
    i. The Sign of Peace is to be omitted.
    j. The Extra-ordinary ministers of the Holy Communion should sanitize their hands before consecration.
    k. Whenever there is a Concelebration, provision should be made for an additional chalice separate from the one from which the Chief Celebrant receives the sacred specie. Other priests would receive communion by intinction such that only the last of the concelebrants receive directly from the chalice.
  4. l. The Ciborium containing the small hosts for the distribution of Holy Communion should remain covered during consecration. The same thing should be done when there is more than one chalice for consecration.
    m. Those to receive communion are to come forward to the foot of the Sanctuary while maintaining physical distance.
    n. Holy Communion should be received directly on the palm of the hand; no hand gloves.
    o. Holy Communion should be given without the words since face masks will not be worn.
    p. Thanksgivings should be earlier arranged with the Parish Priest, with due consideration for the required physical distancing.
    q. Liturgical ministers other than priests may not use liturgical vestments. However, they should be dressed in regular clothes proper and befitting of liturgical worship.
    r. The use of the Holy Water font remains suspended
    Live-streamed Liturgies: we encourage parishes to continue the live streaming of Masses in order to provide for those mentioned in 2f above.
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Other Sacraments and Pastoral Activities

  1. Penance/Reconciliation
    As restrictions are further lifted, the Sacrament of Penance should be scheduled, taking into account the number of individuals permitted to gather. Confessions are not to be heard in small spaces (e.g., traditional confessionals, reconciliation rooms, etc.). A big space which allows for required physical distancing, privacy and above all the maintenance of the dignity of the Sacrament is to be adopted for use. Those mentioned in 2f above may come to the church or parish office outside the scheduled times for confessions.

Priests are allowed to hear confessions under the following conditions:
 Priest and penitent wear face mask
 Both maintain physical distance.
 The sacredness of the sacrament is not to be compromised.

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  1. Pastoral Care for the Sick and Dying
    Priests are encouraged to continue to pastorally care for the sick, the elderly and those who cannot attend mass. Care for the Sick and Elderly which includes Communion, Anointing of the Sick, and Penance, may be celebrated for those in need at the discretion of the priest. In such situations, priests should ensure the following:
     that both Priest and recipient wear face masks
     they observe the required physical distancing while administering the Sacrament of Anointing of the sick.
     Anointing will be done using a piece of cotton wool.
     Use of hand sanitizer before and after the sacrament
  2. Baptism
    When restrictions have been relaxed further, the Sacrament of Baptism may once again be administered, taking into account the number of individuals permitted to gather while observing the required physical distance. Baptism may be celebrated given the following conditions:
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 Those to be baptized do not exceed a maximum number of 10 candidates, each accompanied by both parents and one sponsor only.

 Anointing should be carried out using cotton wool, a fresh cotton wool should be used to anoint each candidate; the priests sanitizes his hands immediately afterwards.

 The Rite of Laying of Hands should be carried out without physical contact.

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 The Rite of Ephatha may be carried out without physical contact.

  1. Marriage
    On the condition of further easing of restrictions, the Sacrament of Marriage may be administered taking into account the number of individuals permitted for gathering, while observing physical distance except for the couple for whom physical nearness is inevitable.
  2. Funerals
    Funerals may take place in compliance with the number of individuals permitted to gather while observing physical distance. In this case, the following conditions should be observed:
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 Rite of Reception at the Entrance of the Church: the number of family members should be limited to a maximum of 5 members while maintaining the expected physical distance.
 At the graveside: the number of people at the interment should not exceed, the maximum number of persons required at social/religious gathering. Physical distance and standard hygiene practices should be strictly adhered to.

My dear brothers and sisters, these are indeed unusual times for the whole world and the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to adopt modifications in our way of worship. These Guidelines have been provided in accordance with recommended safety precautions in order to keep us safe as we begin the celebration of public Masses again. We strongly encourage all Priests, Religious and the Lay Faithful of our Archdiocese to carefully study and implement these Guidelines. We must all keep in mind our obligation to protect ourselves and the faithful entrusted to our care as well as all our loved ones. We shall monitor the situation of things as they develop and review these Guidelines according to the developments and as needs arise. May God keep us safe and command this virus to depart from our world.

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Finally, we cannot over-emphasise the fact that these modifications are temporary and their use is strictly for this period alone. We must not get so used to them that we begin to see them as normal. Therefore, if there are so-called new normal situations, they do not pertain to the core of the teachings and rites of celebrating the liturgy even if they have been modified for the moment. Physical presence at Mass, reception of Holy Communion as prescribed as well as other practices remain the ordinary ways and the present practices are extra-ordinary. May the Lord strengthen our faith and keep our feet on the path of life eternal.

(signed)
+Alfred Adewale MARTINS
Archbishop, Metropolitan See of Lagos


#Newsworthy…

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Church service should last for one hour – PMB


The Federal Government of Nigeria has given one hour as the duration for each church service.

The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Sani Aliyu, stated this on Tuesday during a briefing in Abuja.

Aliyu while rolling out guidelines for the reopening of worship centres said, “Churches to open from 5am and close by 8pm.

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“For churches, each service should be for a maximum of an hour with an interval of thirty minutes in between services to allow time for disinfection.”

Similarly, the national coordinator said Friday prayers in mosques should also not exceed one hour.

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“Mosques may open 15 minutes before and ten minutes after prayers. The total time for Friday prayers should not exceed an hour.

“Islamiya schools, Sunday schools, night vigils, and children classes are to remain suspended.

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“Worshippers should be encouraged to sign up for preferred worship and make the option of virtual service an option.

“There should be no gathering either or after worship and business outlets within the premises should remain closed,” he explained


#Newsworthy…

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Why Lagos Churches, Mosques won’t reopen despite National ban lift.


The Lagos State Government has announced that churches and mosques in the state will not be reopened for worshippers.

Prince Anofiu Elegushi, the State Commissioner for Home Affairs, said this during the 2020 Ministerial Press Briefing commemorating the first year in office of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Monday, lifted the ban on mosques and churches in the country.

However, Elegushi said the state will not reopen worship centers because the state was the epicenter of the deadly COVID-19.

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According to him, before the pronouncement by the Federal Government, the possibility of reopening religious centers was ruled out in a meeting with religious leaders in the State.

He said the leaders of both faiths claimed they cannot assure that only 20 to 50 people pray behind them.

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”Like an Imam said, he doesn’t know what is going on at the back immediately he is leading a prayer. He said if more than 20 or 50 people are staying at his back he is not going to take responsibility for their presence.

”So, in the meeting, we ruled out in totality the issue of reopening the religious houses until we have a clear coast for us to do so.

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”We all know Lagos is still having more figures. So definitely that will speak to our decision,” NRM quoted him as saying.

He added that the governor of the state would come out with further directives on the matter.


#Newsworthy…

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Churches, Mosques that won’t open – Nigerian Govt specify.


The Federal Government has said churches and mosques that do not comply with “required measures”, will not be allowed to reopen.

The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Sani Aliyu, stated this during the daily briefing on Tuesday.

Aliyu also suggested that it was safer for congregants to worship at home, despite the lifting of ban on religious gatherings.

He however warned that “Places of worship that do not comply with required measures should not be allowed to operate.

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“State authorities should not allow such churches or mosques to operate.”

Aliyu explained that strict compliance to provided guidelines was important, as that nature of religious gatherings could see Coronavirus spread easily.


#Newsworthy…

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Churches, Mosques to begin service?


The Federal Government has relaxed the restriction placed on churches, mosques and other places of worship as part of measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, announced this during the daily briefing of the panel on Monday.

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to Government of the Federation, said the ban on inter-state travel is still in place. Effective Tuesday, the Federal Government on Monday announced that the nationwide curfew remains in place but with a new timing of 10pm—4am.

It has also approved the full opening of the financial sector – normal working hours for banks.

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It has approved the restricted opening of places of worship, (regular church and mosque services only), to be based on State Governments protocols.

It also said hotels are now free to operate but within the protocol guidelines released.

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The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on coronavirus (COVID-19), Dr. Sani Aliyu said this at the daily briefing of the task force.

The chairman of the PTF and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said President Muhammadu Buhari approved the recommendations of the PTF.

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He said: “After considering all factors mentioned above, the PTF submitted its recommendations and the President has approved the following for implementation over the next four weeks spanning 2nd – 29th June, 2020, subject to review-:

Based on the overall assessment, including available data on the public health considerations and resultant economic impacts, the PTF is of the opinion that Nigeria is ready to allow SCIENCE and DATA determine her cautious advancement into the second phase of the eased lockdown for a period of four (4) weeks.

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​After considering all factors mentioned above, the PTF submitted its recommendations and the President has approved the following for implementation over the next four weeks spanning 2nd – 29th June, 2020, subject to review-:
i. Cautious advance into the Second Phase of the national response to COVID-19;

ii. Application of science and data to guide the targeting of areas of on-going high transmission of COVID-19 in the country;

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iii. Mobilisation of all resources at State and Local Government levels to create public awareness on COVID 19 and improve compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions within communities;

iv. Sustenance of key non-pharmaceutical interventions that would apply nationwide and include:

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a) Ban of gatherings of more than 20 people outside of a workplace;

b) Relaxation of restriction on places of Worship based on guidelines issued by the PTF and Protocols agreed by State Governments

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c) Managed access to markets and locations of economic activity to limit the risk of transmission;

d) Ban on inter-state travels except for movement of agricultural produce, petroleum products, manufactured goods and essential services;

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e) Mandatory use of non-medical face masks in public places;

f) Mandatory provision of handwashing facilities/sanitisers in all public places;

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g) Extensive temperature checks in public places;

h) Maintaining 2 metres between people in public places;

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i) Strengthening infection prevention and control at healthcare facilities;

j) Isolation of vulnerable populations (elderly and those with underlying health conditions)

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k) Massive information and education campaigns.​

v. Deepening of collaborative efforts with the community leaders, civil society, faith-based organisations, traditional institutions, etc;

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vi. Continuous mobilisation of State governments to take up greater role in the implementation of the guidelines and advisories provided by the PTF;

vii. Continued provision of support by the NCDC to States through guidelines to shape decision-making in responding to high burden LGAs and Wards; and

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viii. Easing the total lockdown of Kano State and introduction of Phase One of the Eased Lockdown.

22.​Ladies and gentlemen, this is still a fight for life and our advancement to phase two does not mean that COVID-19 has ended. It is still potent and highly wasteful of human lives. I implore all Nigerians and corporate citizens to take responsibility and play the expected role.


#Newsworthy…

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Uwaila’s Rape: More Story about UNIBEN undergraduate raped and killed in RCCG Church.


This is sad! A first year Microbiology student of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Uwaila Omozuwa has been confirmed dead after being raped and beaten inside her local church.

The 22-year-old student who goes to read everyday at The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Edo Province 10, Ikpoba Hill, Benin, was attacked with a fire extinguisher by unknown men on Wednesday, May 27.

A family source said Uwaila died on Saturday midnight at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) where she was rushed to after the attack.

He said;

“The church’s security officer had gone to collect the keys to the church from its keeper when he was told that there was someone in the church already.

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“He got to the church only to find Uwaila in a pool of blood and next to her was the fire extinguisher which was used to bash her face.

“He ran back to inform the key keeper and his wife, who went to the church to meet her lifeless, thinking she was dead. After careful observation, they noticed she moved her hand and quickly rushed her to the hospital.

“It was at the hospital that Uwaila revealed she was reading all alone when some unknown men came into the church , beat, raped and hit her head with a fire extinguisher. However, she later passed on.”

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Read some reactions from Nigerians on social media below…

“What a cruel world we live in. When i looked at her smiling pictures (Pre -death), I saw a life full of hope and grace. On the other hand, looking at her smashed skull made me cringe and cry at the wickedness in the hearts of men. R.I.P Uwa”

“Without a strong forensic lab & adequate record keeping, crime investigation will be a mirage for PoliceNG. Do we’ve register for sex offenders in Nigeria? Any for pedophiles? What about simple burglers (breaking & entry)? How can you solve crime without records?”

“I’m too tired/angry to even say something. Likeeeeee. Damn. Won’t be surprised if those men have been watching her movement for sometimes or if they are even a member of the church.”

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“Nigerians keep using Twitter & other social media platforms to demand justice, don’t go out there and take over the Aso rock like wat Americans did to d white house. Keep deceiving yourself with justice for this and that.. Go out and PROTEST. It can be me 2moro”

“Uwa was raped & brutalized in the church which should have been the safest place for anyone to be. How more careful can WOMEN be? Women are constantly being raped in the office, home, school, church, market etc. A rapist is the one with the problem.”


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Abortion centres open – worship centres close – Trump piss.


US President Donald Trump has said that he has ordered governors to open worship centers despite coronavirus pandemic still raging.

Trump stated this while reacting to the move by some state governors to keep liquor stores and abortion centers open while worship centers remain closed.

“It’s not right,” Trump said. “I’m calling houses of worship essential.”

“If there’s any question, they’re going to have to call me, but they’re not going to be successful in that call,” Trump said of state leaders.

“The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now, for this weekend,”

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“If they don’t do it, I will override the governors.”

“It’s not right,” ”This move is aimed at correcting this injustice.”

“If there’s any question, they’re going to have to call me, But they are not going to be successful in that call.”

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“In America, we need more prayer,” “Not less.” Mr Trump said before leaving the briefing room.

Speaking in a press briefing, Trump stated that he has approved guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which will enable worship centers to reopen.

Earlier on Friday, Trump said more on the subject.

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“We want our churches and our places of faith and worship, we want them to open,” he said. “But they’re going to be opening up very soon. We want our churches open, we want our places of faith, synagogues, we want them open, and that’s going to start happening.”

“I consider them essential, and that’s one of the things we’re saying. We’re going to make that essential,” Mr Trump said. “You know, they have places [deemed] essential that aren’t essential. And they open, and yet the churches aren’t allowed to open, and the synagogues. And again, places of faith, mosques, places of faith.”


#Newsworthy…

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