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Religious Leaders Appeal to Congregants to 'Pray from Home'

Now, Archbishop Kaziimba says that with the new directive, the Church of Uganda is to continue with televised Services for people to worship from their homes every Sunday. “We have done this before, and we can do this again. In fact, I believe we can do it even better than the first time,” he added.
Archbishop Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu addressing journalists

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The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the Most Rev. Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu has asked Christians not to be dismayed by the closure of places of worship saying that other means of prayer and worship are still available.

President Yoweri Museveni last night directed the suspension of communal prayers in all places of worship for 42 days. This is one of the fresh restrictions issued by the government as part of the measures to control the COVID-19 transmissions in the country in face of the second wave of the pandemic.

“I want to make it clear to all of us that this does not mean that churches are closed. No. Churches are not closed.  It may not be possible for us to gather on Sundays for prayer, worship, and Holy Communion, but the Church is not closed. The Church is people, and we can find other ways to worship, pray, evangelize, and support one another,” Kaziimba said.

Churches were opened in September after a six months closure that started in March 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The places of worship were then required to have a maximum of 70 worshippers which number was later revised to 200. However, a ban on overnight prayers was maintained.

Now, Archbishop Kaziimba says that with the new directive, the Church of Uganda is to continue with televised Services for people to worship from their homes every Sunday. “We have done this before, and we can do this again. In fact, I believe we can do it even better than the first time,” he added.

He notes that some churches developed the capacity for online streaming of worship services and urged Christians to continue using YouTube, Facebook, and Zoom and that he is also to continue to offer Worship from Home at the Archbishop’s Palace in the coming weeks.

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Kaziimba also asked Christians not to neglect to worship God through their tithes and offerings. “It is still possible to travel within your District. So, please bring your tithe and offering to your local Church. Those churches which have not yet gotten mobile money numbers, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible. While it is not the same as taking your offering to God during worship, when you send via mobile money, God knows it is your offering and receives it as your offering to him. Please do not neglect this,” he emphasized.

The Archbishop also encouraged all Ugandans to pray and fast during this period of the new COVID-19 wave and also respect all the SOPs put in place to defeat the virus.

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Bishop Joshua Lwere, the General Overseer of the National Fellowship of Born again Pentecostal Churches in Uganda (NFBPC) said that this is not the first time that the Churches are being closed and that they are getting used to the situation. He also encouraged Christians to use online methods of worship.

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Lwere says that Church leaders are willing to abide by the President’s directives.

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Ashraf Zziwa, the Spokesperson for Uganda Muslim Supreme Council told Uganda Radio Network-URN that the presidential directive was to be immediately implemented.

“We wish to inform the general public that as the Council, we re-affirm that we shall abide by the presidential directive which is meant to stop the spread of COVID-19. We have accordingly closed our places of worship right from the National headquarters up to the village level,” Zziwa said.

He encouraged Muslims and the general public to ensure observance of the COVID-19 SOPS and also endeavour to be vaccinated.

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Besides the closure of places of worship, President Museveni suspended inter-district movements for all private and public transport means in a bid to contain the coronavirus. Marriage ceremonies, burials, and vigils are now restricted to only 20 people and are held in strict observance of standard operating procedures.  

Public gatherings, conferences, cultural gatherings have also been suspended except for The Cabinet, Parliament, and The Judiciary.       

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