Thursday, 23 July 2020

Breaking: CAN bans Tarry Nights, Mid-week services others in Cr'River due to COVID-19

Ukorebi Esien | 23rd July 2020

CALABAR: The Covid19 Monitoring Team of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN it's latest press statement has placed a ban on some religious activities in the state, in order to curb the spread of the dreaded Corona Virus which was recently recorded in the state.

According to the statement, "Pastors in the State have been advised to desist forthwith from holding tarry-nights, mid-week services and night prayers to avoid the spread of the corona virus and wrath of Government". 

Stating that "the call became necessary considering the fact that the Governor, Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade in his magnanimity only approved corporate worship for Muslims on Friday and Christians on Sunday." The statement reads in parts.

This was arrived at during an interface of the CAN COVID-19 Monitoring Team with the Special Adviser to the governor of Cross River, Sen. Ben Ayade on Religious Matters South, Rev. Fr. Malachy Ephraim, the Cross River state Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Rev. (Amb) O. B. Ekpenyong and pastors within the state. The leadership of CAN and the SA who co-host the meeting expressed dissatisfaction with some pastors in the state who according to him "go against governments directives and hold mid-week services/prayers without recourse." Referring them to Romans 13:1, the Clergy, SA said "...all the conditions given was for the wellbeing of all, because we need to be alive to worship God.

On why markets and other public places are not restricted in the same measure Churches are being restricted, the special Adviser to the governor on religious matters, South, Rev. Fr. Malachy Ephraim averred that there's an 80% possibility  of the virus to be contacted in a confined like the church compared to 20% possibility of contacting it in an open place like markets. 

He advised pastors to stop questioning government's decision stating that contacting the virus in the church will make news headlines than in market places. While appealing to pastors to be obedient to constituted authorities, he further advised church leaders rather than abusing authority, they should channel their energy to upholding the ethics and codes of their calling, in the discharge of their duties to God and humanity. 

The meeting which was well attended by pastors from various denominations had them taking turns to express their concerns over the new decision, while promising to abide by the new order but pleaded for one week of grace till after Sunday, 26th July, 2020 to enable them effect the corrections, which was granted.

At the meeting, it was unanimously agreed that after the one week of grace, any church that further violates the guidelines, such church shall be recommended to the State Government for closure for a period of time.

It will interest you to know that the CAN COVID-19 Monitoring Team have visited over 250 churches to monitor their level of compliance, and offer advises where need be.

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