The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Benue State has suspended Sunday gatherings for at least two weeks in all churches across the state as a measure against Covid-19. State Chairman of CAN, Rev. Akpen Leva, on Thursday announced the decision of the body in a statement made available to our correspondent in Makurdi. Leva in the statement also suspended weddings in all churches while burials are to be restricted to only family members while urging all church leaders, clergymen and the Christian community in Benue State to duly observe the adjustments.
“We also recommend the suspension of Sunday services and masses for the next two weeks to monitor the situation. Christians are encouraged to continue with home devotions, crusades, conventions, revivals, vigils, refresher courses, Para church camps are hereby suspended until further directives. We can go ahead with online preaching among other avenues.
“We wish to say that with effect from 1st April, 2020, we will encourage churches to enforce smaller units of congregational worships of not more than 50 people,” the statement reads in part. The body further advised proprietors of all mission based schools and theological schools to comply with the state government directives by closing all Christian schools on or before March 27, 2020.
Leva also called on clergies to suspend the sign of peace which normally involves shaking of hands and hugging in some churches and even outside the church as well as social distance of one meter or three feet as recommended by health authorities. The association also advised that the administration of Holy Communion should be on the palms and carefully done as to avoid touching the recipients while pastoral care and hospital visits should be administered with utmost precautions.
“Burials should be restricted to only close family members of the deceased. Weddings and social celebrations are to be suspended until the situation improves. We urge you to observe strictly the health conditions as prescribed by Centre for Disease Control and World Health Organisation,” the state CAN maintained.