In desperate moves to have churches and other religious centres opened for routine worship services and other christian activities despite the everyday increase in the rate of COVID-19 active cases in the country, the National Headquarters of the Christian Association of Nigeria had proposed a guideline to the Federal Government of Nigeria, which supposed to be the only template to follow nationwide. Yet respective Chapters of CAN in each State of the Federation had designed theirs. While some measures adopted by CAN at the centre are somehow relaxed, some States make their own more complex and some very rigid.
GUIDELINES PROPOSED CAN NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS TO THE FGN
1) Churches should disinfect their premises first before they are reopened for services.
2) Churches should provide alcoholic sanitizers, temperature readers, soap and water in their premises to be supervised by medical professionals in the Church.
3) Every worshipper must either use soap to wash their hands or apply sanitizers.
4) The temperature of every worshipper must be screened before admission into the church and people with the high temperature should be advised to go and see their doctors.
5) Every worshipper must wear facemask.
6) Social distancing should be observed in the sitting arrangement with a one-meter gap between two worshippers.
7) One hour service for a start.
8) All Sunday services to end on or at 5:30pm.
9) There should be a gap of 10 minutes between one service or another where there are multiple services to avoid crowd.
10) Churches can make use of classrooms and multipurpose halls for services where available, especially in big churches, in order to accommodate more worshippers at a go.
11) TV circuit and speakers can be used for those who are not inside the main auditorium.
12) Handshaking and hugging should be avoided before, during and after the service.
13) Children should worship with their parents.
14) Prayers should be offered to God for a speedy end of COVID-19 and quick recovery of all that are afflicted by the pandemic.
15) Prayers should also be offered for those frontline workers for divine protection.
16) CAN will constitute a committee together with law enforcement agencies to enforce the full compliance.
While the National Headquarters of CAN prescribed 16 rules to follow CAN in Akwa Ibom State makes it own much more rigorous, almost impossible to follow and longer with 20 more rules as seen bellow:
1) Sanitizers must be positioned at every entry and outlets.
2) Physical distancing must be observed strictly
3) Preachers are to wear face masks
4)No sharing of microphone by officials
5)No gatherings after service inside or outside the church
6) No shaking of hands or hugging in or outside the church
7)No sharing of communion cups
8)No air-conditioning system should be on, only natural ventilation
9)No clapping, no spirit estasy show and no dancing
10)No feasting in or outside the church before or after service
11)No flagging of handkerchief
12)No house fellowship in church
13)No queuing or dancing to put offerings in boxes.Bags are to be moved round
14)No tarry nights or prophetic wonder services
15)No service should be more than 2 hours
16)No guests except immediate parents during marriage solemnization
17)No waiting after church ceremony
18)No sharing of microphones by choir members
19)No another immediate service after the first, except hours after sanitizing the church
20)All decorative railings must be sanitized and many more not listed.
Cross River State made hers more relaxed but almost at variance with the National Headquarters guidelines and with 12 rules. While the National Headquarters prescribed a social distancing of one metre per worshiper, Cross River State prescribed two metres, and settles for one hour thirty minutes per service instead of one hour agreed on by CAN National Headquarters.
Hitherto it’s not yet known if CAN is segmented into factions, but claims to be one fold, one body and all serving one God, but seen going different ways on a matter where only one template would have been moulded to guide it members nationwide.