BY Haleem Olatunji
Methodist Church, Nigeria, has directed its members to comply with the ban on religious gatherings of more than 50 worshippers in some states.
In a letter addressed to archbishops, bishops and lay presidents on Wednesday, the church had directed that all local branches should continue service despite the ban.
But in another letter on Friday, Micheal Akinwale, secretary of the conference, said the decision has been adjusted for branches in Lagos and Ogun states.
Lagos, Ogun and Kaduna state governments had announced the ban on gatherings of above 50 persons in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Akinwale directed the branches to observe church service within one hour, with a population not more than 50 persons.
He said members can worship through online service, adding that the churches will be fumigated and the environment disinfected.
“As a follow up to the earlier release by the Conference Office, after pieces of advice by the Conference Medical Advisers, the Prelate has directed that the misunderstood letter be slightly adjusted as follows with regard to Lagos and Ogun States.
“The following measures have become imperative in the light of the directives of the respective State Governments:
“No gathering in all our churches should exceed 50 persons. That House Fellowships/Class meeting should be held at all designed centres with a maximum of 25 persons in accordance with Methodist practice.
“That small groups of 20 persons can gather for Bible Study. That Services or Fellowships should not exceed 1 hour and under no condition must the gathering be more than 50 persons.
“That members can equally worship through online services to reduce the risk of gathering together. That Government directives must be strictly adhered to by ensuring that all our churches are fumigated and the environment disinfected.”
Nigeria currently has 12 confirmed cases of the virus. Globally, there are over 250,000 coronavirus cases.
The outbreak has led to several decisions by governments in the form of measures to limit the spread of the disease.
Such measures include border closure, airport shutdown, travel bans, school closure, and suspension of congregational prayers.