Churches reject Akufo-Addo’s directive to resume services as Ghana’s COVID-19 case count surges

A cross section of Christian groups in Ghana have turned down the directive by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to resume services amidst increasing Coronavirus cases here.

The Perez Chapel International (PCI), the Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) Church, the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) and the Ghana chapter of Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) have all directed their members not to commence in-person church services until further notice.

This implies these churches will continue to use virtual platforms to worship their maker instead of physical meetings.

A statement issued and signed by the Presiding Bishop of the Perez Chapel, Bishop Charles Agyinasare said, “The Perez Chapel International wishes to inform its members and the general public that, as a follow up to the speech given by the President of the Republic, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Sunday, 31st May 2020 on the guidelines for the partial opening of churches, the Perez Dome will remain closed for church services until further notice.

Members and the general public are encouraged to continue worshipping with us virtually on Precious TV, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter on Bishop Charles Agyinasare’s social media handles and Perez Dome’s handles.”

The Adventist Church in statement signed by Dr. Solace Yawa Asafo, Communication Spokesperson in turning down the President’s directive said, “As earlier decided by the leadership of the two Adventist Unions in Ghana at its meeting on May 8, 2020, that Adventist churches will resume service two weeks after the lifting of the ban on religious services, we wish to announce that local churches will re-open on June 20, 2020 if all guidelines are met.

“Church leaders will therefore plan and make arrangements on how services will be conducted to comply with guidelines outlines by the President, the Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, and the Church.”

Similarly, the ICGC in an official communication stated, “The Presbytery of the church has considered the directives issued by the Government of Ghana for the commencement of church services on 7th of June, 2020. In line with this, the Presbytery hereby directs Pastors and ICGC local assemblies as follows;

  1. No ICGC assembly shall be opened to run in-person church services until so advised by the Presbytery.

  2. All ICGC local assemblies will continue to fellowship together on air and on-line as we join the General Overseer on Sundays for services, as we do now.”

In a notice to its members signed by its National Superintendent, Andy Yawson, and released on Tuesday, KICC Ghana noted that “In view of the recent directives issued by the government of Ghana regarding religious gatherings, the leadership of KICC Dominion Centre has decided to continue holding virtual services until such a time when we are confident of holding safe and effective in-person services for our congregation and members of the public”.

It would be recalled that the country’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo in his recent address to the nation on May 31, 2020 announced the easing of some of the restrictions earlier imposed in the face of the Coronavirus spread.

He said, “So fellow Ghanaians, with effect from Friday 5th June, we will begin Stage One of the process of easing restrictions. An abridged format for religious services can commence. Twenty-five percent (25%) attendance, with a maximum number of one hundred (100) congregants, can worship at a time in church or at the mosque, with a mandatory one metre rule of social distancing between congregants.

In addition to the mandatory wearing of masks for all persons at all times in churches and mosques, a register of names and contact details of all worshippers and hand washing facilities and sanitizers must be provided, with a maximum duration of one (1) hour for each service.

Religious institutions that are desirous of opening their premises to their members, such as churches, mosques and others, must disinfect, fumigate and put in place the requisite logistics needed to guarantee safe opening and operation.”

Following the presidential directive, Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs Minister, Kofi Dzamesi, at a press briefing outlined detailed measures on Monday to be observed by churches before resuming services.

Source: Francis Tandoh || 

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