The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) chapter in Kaduna state has directed its members to suspend all church activities involving large gathering for the meantime in order to reduce the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
The state chairman, Reverend Joseph Hayab, who gave the advice in a statement, called on churches to shorten the duration of services by holding brief services, unless necessary.
He advocated on the need to enlighten church members about the virus and some of the preventive measures they should adopt in order not to contract the disease.
He asked all churches to provide hand sanitizers at the entrance of the church so that those coming for service will apply before going into the church.
According to Rev. Hayab, CAN will be happy to have health workers to come to Church premises with genuine equipment to test worshippers, while also asking them to minimise handshakes and hugs to help fight the spread of the virus”.
While CAN says it believes in the efficacy of prayers, it also notes that it will not be proper for a pastor to tell his members to come for prayers and special anointing only without doing what is needful such as the washing of hands regularly, keeping required distance to avoid contacts that may lead to being infected by the virus.
“The challenge of coronavirus is now a global epidemic and many countries in diverse continents have recorded cases of the virus.
“The church in Nigeria, therefore, should not be ignorant of this global pandemic. The church, as a school of faith, which is known for having large gatherings for church services, wedding, burial, prayer meetings, crusades and revival services must endeavour to join forces with government and health workers to stop the spread of this virus.
“Our role must not just be to pray but we must be seen taking concrete steps for the well being of our flocks and the country at large.
“Accordingly, CAN Kaduna State, therefore, wishes to appeal to all Pastors and Church leaders to read through official guidelines and information about the virus, then tell their members.
“On the spread of the virus, social media platforms have so many unverified information that can be misleading, hence, let us make use of information available from the Ministry of Health and other recognized government agencies”.
The statement further assured that CAN will work with the government and their health agencies to educate and mobilize Nigerians in fighting the virus, believing that with the right information and proper guidance from all leaders and stakeholders, they can reduce the spread of this virus.
The religious body also called on the President not to allow anyone to play politics with this serious challenge but to assemble qualified experts to develop simple messages for transmission and distribution at places of worship, motor parks, airports, schools and in every gathering.