As the deadly Coronavirus pandemic continued to spread in states of the federation, Benue State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) yesterday announced the suspension of all Sunday worships and wedding ceremonies across the 23 local government areas of the state until the situation improves.
Though, no case of COVID-19 had been recorded in the state, Chairman of the association, Rev. Akpen Leva, said in a statement that the gesture was to comply fully with the directive of the national body and the state in curtailing the spread of the virus.
Leva said as from April 1, the association would encourage churches to enforce smaller units of congregational worships of not more than 50 people.
He said: “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, church camps are hereby suspended until further directives. We can go ahead with online preaching among other avenues.”
He advised proprietors of mission-based and theological schools to as well comply with the state government’s directives by closing all schools on or before today, March 27, 2020.
The CAN chairman implored clerics to suspend the sign of peace which normally involved shaking of hands and hugging in some churches and even outside the church, and recommended social distancing of at least one metre or three feet.
Leva, who warned that administration of holy communion should be on the palms and carefully done as to avoid touching recipients, adding that all pastoral care and hospital visits should be administered with utmost caution.
He advised Christians to observe strictly the health conditions as prescribed by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO).