“The church has been supportive and highly cooperative of government’s restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic and our commitment has been, and remains to be, to protect the people from the spread of the virus,” add the KZNCC officials.
The representatives of the church forum that is chaired by immediate former Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Durban, Wilfred Cardinal Napier, further note the ironic use of places of worship across the country in handling COVID-19 related encounters, which, to them, bring together more people than the suspended gatherings for worship.
“It is contradicting that the government is using some churches to carry out vaccination services serving hundreds of people but then not being allowed to open as places of worship and other types of services to our communities,” they observe.
Churches in the South African Province have suffered great financial constraints and cannot run their operations due to their continued closure, KZNCC representatives say, noting that church services to members of the community are vital for day-to-day life among people.
“The current restrictions have severely hampered the church’s financial sustainability as well as our ability to perform multiple roles in the lives of individuals and communities,” the church leaders say.
Our roles, the Christian leaders say, “include but are not limited to spirituality, community development, community safety and protection, peacekeeping, medical care and psycho-social support for those who have been affected by the pandemic.”
The KZNCC representatives have now want government authorities in the Eastern South African Province to allow places of worship to operate with at least half their capacities so that services are offered to congregants.
“In order to continue offering these essential services at this critical moment in our province, we need at least 50 percent capacity in our churches,” they say.
KZNCC representatives add, “As the provincial council of churches, we commit to establish guidelines and rigorous self-regulation processes, through our existing ecumenical structures to ensure that safety measures are adhered to.”
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