Reverend Dr Apenkwa Brown, Chairman of the Local Council of Churches in Assin Central Municipality has pledged the Council’s unwavering determination to purge itself of “recalcitrant” members who will defy President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo’s COVID-19 directives.
He said the Council will support government to close down all religious institutions that flout the laid down protocols on social gatherings as Churches reopen on Sunday, June 07.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Assin-Fosu, he said the Council was obliged to prove its commitment by strictly adhering to laid down safety protocols and urged all Churches to adhere to the guidelines set for their reopening.
The President in a televised broadcast on Sunday, May 31, lifted the restrictions, paving the way for religious activities to commence on Friday, June 05 with the opening of Mosques and Sunday, June 07 by Churches, but with only a maximum of 100 persons in a Mosque or Church at a time.
“It is important to note that addressing COVID-19 requires the collective responsibility of both the Church and State and the Church being a major stakeholder is indispensable in the State’s COVID-19 response”, he noted.
Rev Dr Brown said since the closure, the government from time to time met the ecumenical bodies, made up of the Christian Council of Ghana, Ghana Catholic Bishops, Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council, Ghana National Association of Charismatic and Christian Churches and other faith based organisations to deliberate on the situation.
Strategies proposed during the meetings were strict hygienic measures including; hand washing protocols, spaced sitting arrangements, wearing of facemasks to church, avoiding handshakes, and no waving of handkerchiefs at Church.
Temperatures of members were to be checked before entering church premises, while families could be made to sit together at church observing social distancing.
However, he advised that communion services, a Christian sacrament of sharing of wine and bread, should be done in such a way that would reduce hand-to-hand transmission, while offering individual cups for the communion.
The giving of offerings and tithes could be done via mobile money system or be put in a stationary bowls or baskets with wide openings.
He proposed that intensive education was carried out for the congregation by selected trained members of the church, while church services should be done in sessions to reduce the number of people that congregated at a time for worship.
Rev Dr Brown said: “These are protocols that will help our well-being and encourage everybody to embrace them”.