The Archbishop of Church of Uganda has called upon to government to reconsider the number of people allowed to attend services as churches re-open after almost six months in lockdown.
Archbishop Stephen Samuel Kaziimba’s appeal is detailed in a letter issued on Monday, 21st September in which he also thanked the President, the Ministry of Health, and the National Covid Task Force for their unwavering commitment to keeping Ugandans as safe as possible during this Covid-19 pandemic.
While addressing the nation yesterday, President Yoweri Museveni announced that churches will be allowed to reopen but with a limited number of worshipers.
Churches together with other places of worship, were closed in March as the country put in place measures to control the spread of coronavirus.
“Places of Worship allowed to reopen, with numbers not exceeding 70 people and observing other SOPs. Night prayers are not allowed,” Museveni said in his address to the nation.
However, Kaziimba has appealed to the government to offer maximum seating based on the number of square metres in the worship space rather than a fixed number of people, regardless of the size of the room.
“For larger congregations, it will be impossible for the entire congregation to be able to gather in different groups of 70 people for a corporate worship service. My own Cathedral, for example, averages 4,000 people on a Sunday spread across three different services. To cater for all 4000 people in groups of 70, we would need to schedule 57 different worship services, which is simply not practical.” Kaziimba writes.
“We appeal to the government to reconsider the guidelines and offer maximum seating based on the number of square metres in the worship space rather than a fixed number of people, regardless of the size of the room.”
He added, “We also appeal to the government to allow outdoor gatherings for worship with all appropriate SOPs in place.”
The Archbishop also thanked the First Lady and Minister of Education, Hon. Janet Museveni, and her entire team at the Ministry of Education for working tirelessly to keep children learning even when schools were closed for classes.
He urged all Church of Uganda-founded schools to work closely with the Ministry of Education to ensure the safe return of children to school.
“As schools re-open for candidate classes and finalists, I urge all Church of Uganda-founded schools to work closely with the Ministry of Education to ensure the safe return of our children to school. The Provincial Directorate for Education is also available for support.
“We thank the National Council for Higher Education for approving UCU to begin offering online classes in a few weeks. This is a breakthrough in Business Unusual; UCU’s leadership and administration is also to be commended for the many hours of work and preparation to reach this milestone.” Kaziimba said.
Kaziimba also called upon Ugandans to observe a Thanksgiving on Sunday, 4th October 2020. He adds that those who have been setting aside their offerings and keeping it aside since the lockdown started, it will be the day.
“Finally, early on in the lockdown, I promised that when churches re-opened for public worship that we would have a general Thanksgiving to the Lord for keeping us and bringing us this far. I, therefore, invite every congregation in the Church of Uganda to observe a Thanksgiving on Sunday, 4th October. If you have been setting aside your offering and keeping it until this day of Thanksgiving, it is now here.” he concluded.