Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has announced the temporary suspension of activities of all churches in Benue to check the spread of the dreaded coronavirus known as COVID -19.
In an address to the Christian community in Benue State, the CAN Chairman, Rev. Akpen Leva said that all church activities should be suspended in the state for two weeks from April 1, 2020.
He explained further that if any church must meet, only about 50 members would be expected to participate in such church activity at a time.
“With effect from 1st April, 2020, we will encourage churches to enforce smaller units of congregational worships of not more than 50 people. We also recommend the suspension of Sunday services and masses for the next two weeks to monitor the situation.
“Christians are encouraged to continue with home devotions as crusades, conventions, revivals, vigils, refresher courses, para church camps are hereby suspended until further directives. We can go ahead with online preaching among other avenues.
“We advise proprietors of all mission based schools and theological schools to comply with the state government directives by closing down all Christian schools on or before 27th March, 2020”.
The CAN Chairman however stated that the week long fasting and prayer session to seek divine intervention on the dreaded diseases and the renewed herdsmen attacks on some communities in the state was still ongoing adding that the programme would be rounded up on Sunday at NKST Iotyer, Makurdi by 2pm and appealed to all Christians in the state to participate in the activities of the programme.
While urging the clergies to adopt all the measures aimed at curtailing the spread of the disease such as avoidance of hand shaking, hugging and regular washing of hands among others, Leva also disclosed that pastoral care and hospital visits should be done with outmost precaution even as he encouraged churches to use alcohol based hand sanitisers to help check the spread of the disease.
Rev. Leva cautioned all Christians in the state to ensure that burials are restricted to only close family members, and that weddings and other social celebrations should be suspended until the situation improves.
The cleric appealed to the standing committee on COVID -19 and the Benue State Government to cooperate with the church to do the needful for the church to help in the control of the disease in the state
The CAN Chairman enjoined the people to as much as possible isolate themselves and only to go out when necessary just as he advised them to seek medical attention when they notice any symptoms of the disease even as he emphasized that prayer was the key to end the pandemic.