Billy Graham Abel, Yola
The president of the Christian Association of Nigeria,(CAN) Adamawa state chapter, Dami Mamza, has ordered churches to shut down services, Mass, wedding ceremonies, vigils, revivals and other church events that may attract crowds as a necessary measure to forestall the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus in Adamawa state.
The clergy said it is important that the church takes the lead working with the government in halting the spread of the virus across the state hence the need for worshippers to work with government in restricting their practices to secure the health of their members and ensure public health safety.
This was contained in a press statement issued to newsmen on Tuesday in Yola, Adamawa state.
Dami Mamza said: “The pace at which the Coronavirus is spreading calls for collaboration and unity of purpose in the struggle for curtailing the further spread and the far-reaching damages of the disease.
“As a church therefore, we shall comply fully with the directives of the state authorities in curbing the spread of the virus.
“This will definitely affects our faith-base practices, yet while keeping in mind the sacred responsibilities of our faith and practices, we immediately call on you dear brethren to cooperate maximumly with the relevant government agencies in their efforts and measures towards the welfare of the citizenry in the face of this killer disease.”
The clergy made a passionate call to the public saying: “Therefore, we urge all Christians and all people of goodwill to duly observe the following adjustments we have made regarding our worship and activities:
“We ask proprietors of all Christian schools to comply with the government directives by closing all Christian schools on or before Friday 27th March 2020.
“We encourage smaller units of congregational assemblies of 50 people only.
“We recommend the suspension of Sunday Services and Masses until further notice.”
Explaining the wide ranging protocols for safety he said: “The faithful are encouraged to continue with private devotions in their respective homes.
“Crusades, conventions, revivals, vigils are hereby suspended until further notice.
“We urge Christians to suspend the sign of peace, which involves hand-shaking and hugging in some churches and outside churches.
“We encourage the recommended a social distance of one meter or three feet.
“Reception of Holy Communion should be on the palms and done in such a way as to prevent touching of the recipient.
“Pastoral care to be administered with utmost precautions, use hand sanitizer before and after, and wash hands thoroughly with soap and water often.
“Burials should be restricted to only the close family members of the deceased.
“Weddings and social celebrations should be suspended until the situation comes under control.
“Frequently wash your hands with soap and running water or use hand sanitizers to disinfect them.
“Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
“Christian Hospitals and Clinics, Conference and social Centres and Pastoral homes to put in place Emergency Response Measures such as a Liaison Committee, personal protective equipment including hand sanitizers, face masks, hand washing fonts with liquid soap, dispensers, temperature monitors, etc. Thus, there should be hand Sanitizers at every Church entrance.
“Practice respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze, then dispose the used tissue immediately.
“If you have fever, cough and difficulty in breathing, please seek medical care immediately.
“We encourage people to please stay at home and go out only when necessary. Prevention is better than cure!
We appeal to all our pastors and Church leaders to ensure that adequate care is taken and lines of communications are open to ensure that the poor and the vulnerable who live alone are not abandoned at this time and beyond.
“Let us stand together; hand-in-hand. In keeping with His word (Jn. 14:1), God will see us through all these.
“With you in communion of prayers, I remain.”