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Lagos Churches Resume Service After Months of Closedown …comply with government COVID-19 guidelines -Gracious Akintayo

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Lagos Churches Resume Service After Months of Closedown …comply with government COVID-19 guidelines -Gracious Akintayo

It was an Episcopal journey visiting some churches on Sunday after the lift and reopening order of worship centres with approval for religious gathering closed down by the Lagos government since March to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and increase in coronavirus cases.

Many Christian and worshippers were seen early on Sunday in joyful mood going to their various places of worship for the first time since the closedown after five months to meet up the process of entering into their church and resumption time of the service, that was already communicated to them through various social platforms.

An elated and happy worshipper expressed her joy and the grace to enter into the church and openly worship God, “I can’t express my joy of coming to the church, though, I pray and read my Bible at home, but there is something about going to church and worship with other brethren. It is the only place, where in your feeling or situation, you can find a confidant and receive godly counsel through your pastor, an elder or spiritually matured people without any fear”, she said.

However, Churches visited and sighted by Providence News fully complied with the COVID -19 conditions and guidelines for worshippers in accordance with the state government directives.

Adequate provisions of automated hand wash units and hand sanitiser dispensers with soaps, water and infrared thermometers were observed and strategically positioned at designated entrance of the Churches.

Banners in sizes, large enough with the inscription “No Mask, No Entry” were hanged to the view of worshippers at the entrance gate of churches with ushers and protocol officers stationed at the gate to coordinate and monitor the process of the guidelines. Also, to ensure worshippers without face masks and others not complying with the guidelines are prevented from entering the church premises.

Social distancing were largely observed with the seats spaciously arranged to accommodate approved numbers of worshippers by the state government.

To complement government directives and guarantee worshippers confidence, churches ensure the guidelines are carried out and protocols followed to the letter without over stressing the process. The Churches respectively appointed committees to coordinate successful implementation of the guidelines.

At Amazing Grace Pentecostal Church, Palm-grove, members were seen in orderly manner, wearing face masks and happily keeping distance with cooperation to protocol directives at various stages of the guidelines.

Immediately the numbers of worshippers allowed in the church was completed at 9am, the service commenced and the gate closed with no one allowed to come in, even after the service ended at 10.15am when worshippers were trooping out. The Presiding Bishop, Bishop (Mrs.) Chioma Dauji admonished the congregation to be alert and careful of their environment. She encouraged them to be law abiding, obey the every health rules and keep safe.

At Gospel Church of Christ national headquarters, Awodi-Ora, Ajegunle, the church security personnel with ushers took charge to ensure worshippers compliant.

Worshippers adorning various design of face mask and some with face shield, were guided into the church with seats already arranged in distance form.

Speaking with Providence after the service, the headquarters Bishop and Deputy head of mission (Designate), Bishop Sam Oniekoro said, “We thank God for protecting and bringing back our members safely to the church. The siege over coming to worship God is over. Though, it was the doors of physical buildings that were closed, the door to relationship with God is not closed and cannot be locked up by power or government”.

He commended church leaders in Lagos for their efforts and roles during the church lockdown and Christians for their prayers, steadfast and patient throughout the COVID-19 closed down period. Also, for the cooperation and compliance to wear their face masks with following the guidelines.

“I commend the proactive measures of the state government for putting in place effective control and management of the pandemic from spreading beyond reach”, he said.

Adding that, as the church leaders and Christians, we should play our role and ensure adequate measure is in place to complement the state government effort in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic”, Oniekoro advised.

At Glory Christian Ministries, Odo-Olowu, Ijeshatedo area of the state, the Church leadership has chosen Sunday 16th August as tentative date for the resumption of Church services with a keen sense of responsibility for the safety of their members as well as to consolidate other ongoing preparations.

The church however, used the reopening Sunday to have a dressed rehearsal service for for its workers, where the founding pastor, Pastor I. S James speak on, “Why some succeed where others failed”.

The church announced 2 Sunday services from the 16th August 2020: 1st Service at 8:30am – 10am and 2nd Service at 10:30am – 12noon, in compliance with state government and social distancing regulations. Adult members are advised to indicate the service of their choice before the service time on Sunday, while admission will be on ‘first to indicate, first to be considered’ basis.

Other highlights of the regulation and guidelines in place for healthy environment are decontermination and fumigation of the church premises immediately after every service.

Meanwhile, despite government announcement of reopening of churches and worship centres, some churches in Lagos has vowed to continue their online services and announced they would not resume church services or open their church hall for any activities after the lift order by the government, until they are satisfied the pandemic coast is clear and the atmosphere is conducive enough to guarantee worshippers confidence.

Most church leaders cited reasons for their decision, especially on the safety of their church members and worshippers.

Among churches that are not ready to reopen for services are Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries (MFM), Daystar Christian Centre, Fountain of Life, The Covenant Church, The Citadel Global Community Church (formerly Latter Rain Assembly) and others.