Lenana Road, Jumuia Place, 3rd Floor +2542721249 gsoffice@ncck.org

MESSAGE TO MEMBER CHURCHES ON RE-OPENING OF CHURCHES FOR PUBLIC WORSHIP.

July 14, 2020

To all Heads of Member Churches and Organisations

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

RE: RE-OPENING OF CHURCHES FOR PUBLIC WORSHIP

Receive warm Calvary greetings from Jumuia Place.

You will recall that the National Emergency Response Committee (on Covid-19) issued a directive on March 22, 2020 suspending congregational worship across the country. Subsequently, on June 6, 2020, President Uhuru Kenyatta instructed the Cabinet Secretaries for Health and Interior to constitute an Inter Faith Council for the National response to the Covid-19 pandemic to develop  guidelines  and protocols for re-opening places of worship. The Inter Faith Council (IFC) was established on June 17, 2020,.The NCCK family was privileged to be represented by Rt Rev Moderator Julius Mwamba (NCCK Vice Chair and head of PCEA), Rev Canon Rosemary Mbogo (ACK), and Rev Canon Chris Kinyanjui (NCCK General Secretary).

Pre-Opening Phase

After wide consultations, the IFC on July 6, 2020 presented an interim report to His Excellency the President in which they recommended four phases in the process of re-opening places of worship. The IFC further communicated to the nation guidelines for the Pre-Opening Phase in the process, noting that progression to the subsequent phases would depend on the situation of infection trend and spread as indicated by daily positive cases and level of compliance by congregational gatherings. The guidelines are meant to ensure achievement of three main principles:

  1. Containment of the spread of the virus
  2. Minimizing exposure to  the virus
  3. Protection of the vulnerable groups

In this regard, the IFC guided that congregational services can resume any time from July 14, 2020, once a particular congregation prepares to adhere with the set guidelines.

Guidelines for the Pre-Opening Phase

We thank God that this opportunity has been granted to our churches, and we urge you to disseminate these guidelines to the clergy and congregants within your structure to enable them prepare adequately. The guidelines by the IFC are:

  1. Containment of the spread of the virus
    1. Provide adequate stations with soap and water for congregants to wash hands before and after the worship service, else provide alcohol-based sanitizers (at least 70% alcohol content)
    1. All congregants, including the service leaders, to wear proper face masks that cover the nose and the mouth throughout the service
    1. Ensure cleaning and disinfecting the sanctuary, seats, handrails, door handles, and toilets in between sessions
    1. Provide bins for safe waste disposal, especially  those that don’t require opening with hands
    1. Sanitize shared items (microphones, hymn books) before the item is passed to the next person
    1. Provide stationary offering collection points to avoid passing baskets or bags
  • Minimizing exposure to the virus
    • Ensure congregants maintain distancing of 1.5 meters from each other at all times
    • Have a maximum of 100 congregants in the worship service at a time
    • Discourage contact (greetings, hugging, touching) between congregants
    • Discourage group gatherings or socializing before or after the services
    • Limit the worship service to a maximum of 60 seconds
    • Open all windows and doors and ensure adequate ventilation during the worship service
    • Avoid use of indoor overhead fans
  • Protection of the vulnerable groups
    • Discourage persons older than 58 years and those younger than 13 years from attending worship services
    • Discourage persons with underlying medical conditions from attending worship services
    • Encourage persons with high temperatures, coughs and shortness of breath to seek medical attention

Structures for Implementing the Guidelines

To ensure effective compliances with these guidelines, the IFC recommended:

  1. That each congregation establishes a Covid-19 Response Team to oversee implementation and respond to any emergencies
  2. That the congregational response teams be responsible to the Sub County Inter Faith Committee that will be established by the Inter Faith Council

Other Phases in the Process

As indicated above, the IFC mapped out guidelines for each stage in the four phases towards full re-opening of places of worship. In brief, these are:

Pre-Opening Phase:

  • Maximum of 100 worshippers
  • Maximum of 60 minutes per service
  • Follow Ministry of Health guidelines on social distancing and masks
  • Participants to exclude those younger than 13 years and those older than 58 year
  • Vulnerable groups to stay away

Phase One:

  • Number of Participation based on social distancing
  • Maximum of 90 minutes per service
  • Follow Ministry of Health guidelines on social distancing and masks
  • Participants to include ages 6 – 65 years
  • Vulnerable groups to stay away

Phase Two:

  • Number of Participation based on social distancing
  • Maximum of 120 minutes per service
  • Follow MOH guidelines on social distancing and masks
  • Participants to include ages 6 years and above
  • Vulnerable groups to stay away

Phase Three:

  • Number of Participation based on social distancing
  • Maximum of 180 minutes per service
  • Follow MOH guidelines and increase gatherings
  • All youth worship meetings
  • Vulnerable groups to stay away

Phase Four:

  • Full in person gatherings and online worship
  • Remove social distancing
  • Unlimited worship duration
  • Allow children classes
  • Vulnerable groups to attend

Conclusion

In conclusion, I note that our churches have been heavily affected by the cessation of congregational worship, but the measures were necessary to safeguard lives of our congregants. I urge you to do the best you can to ensure our congregations operate within the guidelines, appreciating that our adherence will facilitate the progression to the subsequent phases of the re-opening.

Above all, let us continue joining hands as we raise our voices in prayer to God, who is the one who can rescue us from this pandemic.

May God bless you  and keep;

May the Lord make his face shine upon you,

And be graciousto you;

May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you,

And give you peace” (Number 6:24-26)

Rev Canon Chris Kinyanjui

General Secretary

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Contact Information

 

  • Address: 3rd Fr, Jumuia Place, Lenana road, Nairobi
  • Address: P. O. Box 45009 – 00100, Nairobi
  • Tel: 254202721249
  • Fax: 25420728748
  • Email: gsoffice@ncck.org
  • Website: http://www.ncck.org