PCEA halts Sunday services following global pandemic

The Presbyterian Church of East Africa has banned Sunday services in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus. [Photo courtesy]

Worshippers at the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) will have to adjust to a new directive suspending their physical presence in church halls over coronavirus.

On Kenya, all services will now be streamed online to keep believers safe from coronavirus infection.

The secretary-general Rev Peter Kaniah and Rt Rev Julius Mwamba in a joint statement indicated that the church will remain open to individuals who may want to say a word of prayer there but Sunday services stand suspended.

“Our prayer for the people of Kenya and the global community comes from Romans15:13 ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit,” read part of the statement.

PCEA has a membership of 4.5 million followers in Kenya. The church said that at a time when Kenya is struggling to contain the spread of coronavirus, hope should be a cardinal driving force for every believer noting that it suppresses fear.

Following the coronavirus scourge, the statement added, weddings scheduled to be officiated in the church will either be postponed or only officiated by not more than five people.

“Weddings should be postponed or be done in a ceremony of five people, including the bride, the groom, the best couple and the officiating minister.”

For funerals, the church said that ” Funeral services should be attended only by the extended family. Viewing of body should not be done at the mortuary to avoid people congregating. The entourage should go straight to the graveside or an open field with a short service of not more than one hour.”

About those already diagnosed with COVID-19, the church urged the State to offer quality care to them while also calling for more screening centres across the country. It also asked the government to institute zero tax on commodities such as food to enable Kenyans to survive through the scourge.

County governments were urged to provide basic amenities to ensure sanitation remain at the top.

On Tuesday, Kenyan recorded its fourth coronavirus case from a patient who travelled from London in the UK on March 8 and arrived in Kenya on March 9.

The patient under the care of a private facility in the country is reportedly said to be responding well to medication.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said the government is leaving nothing to chance in the effort to contain the spread of the virus.

In Massachusetts, following the Governor’s order on Sunday evening against a gathering of more than 25, PCEA suspended all services until further notice.