Rwanda Interfaith Council (RIC) has appealed to the government of Rwanda to reopen churches and places of worship as restrictions regarding Covid-19 have been eased for many activities. On June 5, 2020, the ministry of local Government organized a meeting with RIC leaders to discuss requirements to be fulfilled by churches towards reopening and once reopened. After more than two weeks, i.e, on June 22, 2020 the ministry of local Government, in collaboration with RIC, presented a list of measures to bear in mind as churches are getting ready for reopening.
The following are the requirements that churches have to meet once reopened.
- Churches and places of worship should be assessed by a trained team from the local authority;
- Every place of worship should have a team of trained volunteers to help people respect COVID-19 prevention measures;
- Every place of worship should have enough hygienic measures like hand-washing systems
- Social distancing of at least 1.5m should be respected and a mark/symbol should be put on church benches or chairs showing where to exactly sit and not sit;
- All congregants should wear face masks during the worship service;
- The singers should be in face masks while singing and should keep 2m distance; sharing microphones , prayer-books and bibles is not allowed;
- A team of trained volunteers should register all people coming to church by recording their place of residence and phone contacts;
- Every place of worship should be cleaned before and after the worship service;
- Worship service should not exceed two hours time;
- Two or more worship services are allowed but an interval of one hour’s time should allowed for cleaning between services;
- Children less than 12 years old are not allowed to go to church and those between 12 and 18 should be accompanied by their parents to church;
- Offertory should be done electronically (Money transfer, bank transfer etc…);
- Holy Communion is only allowed when social distancing is respected and it should be a self-service or the priest may use a spoon to give the bread;
All churches in Rwanda are waiting patiently for the government to open up churches as they agree to observe measures outlined. We lift up our eyes to God whose throne is in heaven.
By Mr. Marcel SEBAHIRE