Anglican Church suspends all services as COVID-19 cases rise

By Upenyu Chaota

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in the country, the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe has suspended services and encouraged its members to pray at home.

As at Aug 02, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country was 3 921; with 1 016 recoveries, 2835 active cases and 70 deaths.

Under the current Level 2 national lockdown, churches are allowed to conduct services but with requirements to observe strict social distancing regulations that include a maximum number of 50 worshippers per single gathering.

The Anglican Church has, however, decided to abandon services altogether and urged people to pray from home as a way to reduce chances of congregants contracting the virus.

Anglican Church in Zimbabwe national chairperson Bishop Ignatius Makumbe of the diocese of Central Zimbabwe told TellZim News that the church did not want to unnecessarily expose people to harm’s way.

“The current state of affairs in the country with regards to COVID-19 is disconcerting. People should stay at home and pray from home. We have suspended all church services for two weeks and we will be carrying a review after a fortnight. We are doing this to protect our people because we feel now is not the time to gather.

“We know that government approves gatherings of a maximum of 50 people for purposes of worship but we believe that the number has become too high for us under the obtaining situation,” said Bishop Makumbe.

He said churches must lead in the fight against COVID-19 by avoiding gatherings since God was omnipresent.

“It is not about gathering together; a prayer from home is as powerful as a prayer made from anywhere else. Fifty people are way too much in light of the spike in the national cases of COVID-19. We have to take a stand by stepping back,” he said.

A number of congregations have been accessing church services through live streaming on the internet.

Just like businesses, churches are fighting to remain sustainable as they have bills and salaries to pay as well as other financial obligations to meet.