With Kenya set to resume public worship, an Interfaith Council established by the government is urging believers to remain cautious.
“Dear Kenyans, we must remain vigilant to the dangers this pandemic still poses even as the restrictions are lifted,” the Council said in a statement.
Public worship had been suspended in five counties due to a recent spike in the number of reported cases. Four Catholic dioceses were affected by the decision. With numbers going down, Kenyan President Uhura Kenyatta announced that the government would relax restrictions, beginning May 1.
Health and safety measures remain in place for religious ceremonies. The latest guidelines from the Council call for strict social distancing of 1.5 meters (approx. 5 feet), attendance to be limited to one third capacity for churches and other worship spaces, and services limited to under two hours. Services should be conducted in open spaces with room for circulation. Worshippers are expected to “avoid any common use of water or shared items.”
“It is paramount,” the Council say explains, “that we do not lower our guard in adhering strictly to the wearing of masks at all times in the worship service; the washing of hands with soap or sanitization before and after the service; sanitizing of all microphones and shared material; regular sanitizing of the places of worship; adequate social distancing in the places of worship.”
In their statement, the Interfaith Council appeals to religious leaders “to reiterate the importance of the preventative measures, especially wearing masks at all times in all public spaces.” They say religious leaders “have been outstanding in encouraging [their] congregations and ensuring compliance to the Interfaith Guidelines in places of Worship.”
The Council also calls on Kenyans to be vaccinated, saying, “this is the most definitive way to contain the power of the virus.”
The Interfaith Council was established by the Kenyan Government in June 2020, with a mandate to guide resumption of public worship. Cathlic Archbishop Anthony Muheria of Nyeria heads the Council, which also includes Anglicans, Presbyterians, and Muslims. Two other Catholic Bishops are also members.
So far, Kenya has seen more than 160,000 cases of Covid-19, with some 2800 deaths attributed to the pandemic.
Having been unable to sell in churches for well over a year due to the pandemic, we are now inviting readers to support the Herald by investing in our future. We have been a bold and influential voice in the church since 1888, standing up for traditional Catholic culture and values.
Please join us on our 130 year mission by supporting us. We are raising £250,000 to safeguard the Herald as a world-leading voice in Catholic journalism and teaching. For more information from our chairman on contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund, click here
Make a Donation
Donors giving £500 or more will automatically become sponsor patrons of the Herald. This includes two complimentary print/digital gift subscriptions, invitations to Patron events, pilgrimages and dinners, and 6 gift subscriptions sent to priests, seminaries, Catholic schools, religious care homes and prison and university chaplaincies. Click here for more information on becoming a Patron Sponsor. Click here for more information about contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund