Will Church Services Ever Remain The Same again?
As Churches and other religious houses are warming up for reopening, the CAN Chairman, Rev. Olasupo Ayokunle has come up with some suggestions on how the Church will comply with government directives. A lot of things are bound to change in Church services. Will the Church ever remain the same? The following may be the look and expectations of the post Covid Church.
(1) Church protocols will change:
Instead of the usual practice of simply walking majestically into the church premises in colourful outfits to enjoy the programmes, you might be joining a queue outside the church. On the queue which might be lengthy, depending on the membership size of the church; your temperature will be taken, you might be denied entry if it’s too high. You will have your hands washed.
(2) Social Distancing:
A halt will come to the sitting arrangement that brings people too close to themselves. Now a space of at least one metre will be kept between church service attendees. This is in line with the principle of physical and social distancing.
(3) Wearing of face-masks in the church:
If you have been having difficulties using the face-masks, then you might be unfit to attend the church. Part of the guidelines states that one needs to wear face-masks all through the church service. This will affect singing, bible readings, general congregation responses, prayers, praise and worship and others. Those who have challenges dealing with the masks might also suffocate or be forced out due to their inability to take off their masks.
(4) No physical contacts:
In most churches, people are encouraged to shake hands with their neighbours, hug them in some cases and make positive confessions into their lives. This has a way of making the service more lively and interesting for church members. Under the new rule, hugging and handshakes have been suspended. The excitement of seeing an old friend or a known church member has been indirectly killed. People will need to make adjustments.
(5) Reduction in church service duration:
Praise worships, sermons, testimony sessions and other church programmes have to be managed to fit into the proposed time duration of 1hr 30 minutes. This is a low record time for churches and most activities will have to be cut short to avoid flouting the guideline if it’s accepted by the government. And also, for large churches, services will have to take place in batches consisting of a specified number of members to prevent crowding the church and endangering lives. Time intervals of 25 to 30 minutes will also be observed for large congregations.
(6) Disinfection of church premises:
The cost of running a church is about to balloon with the disinfection of the church halls before services are held. The church might be forced to hire professionals to do the regular cleanings and disinfection of church halls. This expert service doesn’t come cheap especially when quality is concerned. This will be an extra burden on the church and this might be severe due to the economic downturn.
(7) Change in pattern of holy communion:
Rather than drink from one single cup during the Holy Communion session, separate cups will have to be given to members. It should be noted that members of certain churches usually drink from one cup during communion services.
In summary, these proposed guidelines made public by the CAN leader is expected to bring strangeness to church services. Christians might have to make quick adjustments and adaptations to fit in. This is expected to last until the coronavirus pandemic is over. The number of cases in Nigeria has continued to rise rapidly with the country gradually approaching 10,000 cases. The financial capital of Nigeria, Lagos has continued to top the coronavirus chart since the disease spread to Nigeria.
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