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Church of Uganda Speaks Out on Suspension of Communal Prayers

Following a decision by government to suspend communal prayers in churches and mosques as one of the measures of controlling the surging cases of COVID19, the Church of Uganda has rolled out means of conducting prayers in the due course.

While announcing the suspension on Sunday, President Yoweri Museveni asked believers to pray from their respective homes or make use of the mass media as it was the case during the first national lockdown.

He however said that religious marriage ceremonies, burials and vigils will continue as long as they don’t exceed 20 people and are held in strict observance of standard operating procedures.

Now, speaking to reporters on Monday, the archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the Most Rev Steven Kazimba Mugalu said that christians should now focus on praying from their homes.

“I want to let you know that only buildings can be closed but the Church can not, it continues. We shall not be able to gather in buildings but the prayers will continue from homes,” Most Rev Mugalu said.

Quoting Matthew 18:20 which reads, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them”, he said the fathers should play a leading role in praying from home noting that it is where the church starts from.

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He said christians ought to intensify using different mass media platforms like radios, televisions and internet for prayers and other church activities during this period.

“As it were the case in the first national lockdown, many people prayed using YouTube, Facebook and Zoom, I request that you proceed that way,” he noted.

According to the Most Rev Mugalu, at the Secretariat of the Church of Uganda, prayers will also continue through online platforms and the Church’s radio station. He said the same should be done by all church leaders in their respective areas using the radio and TV stations in their locality.

“Text messages and social media platforms should also be used during this time,” he says

On religious marriage ceremonies, burials and vigils, the Most Rev Mugalu, said the same method should be adopted where only 20 people attend and others follow using digital platforms.

The Archbishop said that christians should use mobile money to send their tithe to their respective churches or deliver it physically since internal movements within the districts were not suspended.

He further appealed to the public to observe the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on COVID19 including proper wearing of masks, washing hands, avoiding mass gatherings as well as keeping social distance.

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He told reporters that he had just received his second jab of COVID19 vaccine thus rallying the public to shake off any doubts about the safety of the vaccine.

In the Sunday address, President Museveni also suspended inter-district for all private and public transport means in a bid to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) with reports showing an increase in a surge of cases and community infections.

The measure will be effected starting on June 10, 2021, with a window of three days left to enable school children to return home given the fact that schools have also been closed for the same period.

Selected categories of vehicles were waived from the inter-district travel restriction including cargo vehicles (with not more than two people-driver and one turn boy), registered tourists’ vehicles, essential and emergency vehicles. However, the president said this excludes districts of Wakiso, Mukono, and Kampala.

He said that public transport within the same district was not banned but vehicle operators were asked to observe the set SOPs for transport which include ensuring that all passages have masks, limiting the number of passages to half of the normal vehicle capacity among others.



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