Anglican churches are being urged to keep congregants extra-safe over the next few weeks amid concerns about a possible third wave of coronavirus over Easter and into winter.

Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba is calling on congregants to follow all health protocols. This comes as South Africa marks the first anniversary of the introduction of the hard lockdown.

Makgoba says the Anglican Church of Southern Africa has updated strict guidelines to be followed for church services and when presiding at funeral services in the cases of COVID-19 related deaths.

“ With Easter approaching and scientists and government officials in South Africa warning of a third wave of the coronavirus,  our church  COVID-19 Committee and I are anxious that the church at all levels should be extra-cautious to keep every member of our congregation safe over the next few weeks. And so I call upon you to continue to wear your masks, covering mouth and noses, to sanitise regularly, to observe social distancing. I also ask you to soak your families, your church, the country at large, and the continent in prayer so that the hope that we celebrate the resurrection at  Easter may be a reality for all of us. Let us keep on advocating for equality in access to safe and affordable vaccines.”

Earlier the General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana spoke to SABC about events such as church services during the Easter Weekend:

 

‘Pastors Against the Closure of Churches’

Meanwhile, a  group called ‘Pastors Against the Closure of Churches’ and some congregants protested outside Parliament to hand over a memorandum to the Presidency.

The Pastors say they want the President never to close churches again, despite the pandemic. They want 100% capacity for church festivals.

The group was blocked by riot police who kept them 100 meters away from Parliament.

Pics by Mercedes Besent

Convenor of  Pastors Against Church Closures is Apostle Zomgamele Baliso from the Grace Community Church in Langa and Gugulethu, “The reason for the protest is clear. We are declaring the pass over and we want to enjoy and celebrate pass over and we want 100% capacity for the festival of the Passover and after the Passover, we are saying the church cannot be closed. And what we are saying is after Easter, we still want the church to be running and we are saying to the President, the church must never be closed again. We are against the closure of the church.”

The group handed over a memorandum to an official to the presidency. In the memorandum, they also complain about the behaviour of police towards churches and pastors.

“Number three we are saying in our memorandum, these SAPS guys must stop to brutally attack the pastor’s and the Churches out there. We are saying we cannot be attacked by our police, whereas we are running our services. We have got the right to worship our God”,  say Baliso.