Uhuru to receive re-opening of churches report on July 6

A team set up to come up with strategies to pave the way for the re-opening of places of worship will submit its interim report to President Uhuru Kenyatta by July 6.

The Inter-Religious Council headed by Archbishop Anthony Muheria of Nyeri Catholic Archdiocese, which is expected to advise government on the best ways to go about the re-opening, said they will offer a more participatory mode of worship under the coronavirus pandemic.

“Opening of public worship will largely depend on how we, Kenyans, decide to comply with all those indications we are receiving.

It also depends on how we protect our sisters and brothers by following measures and thereby making it safe even to meet with minimal risks,” said Muheria during the inaugural council meeting yesterday at Ufungamano House, Nairobi.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and his Health counterpart Mutahi Kagwe launched the team which they gazetted last week.

“In the course of next two to three weeks, we can come up with a framework of protocols that we need to open our places of worship, look at the challenges we are likely to face and how to deal with them,” he said.

New normal

To assist the council in undertaking its mandate, Matiang’i said Kagwe had seconded a number of health professionals to work with the team.

“We are going through a new normal, it is a long journey that we have began and we may be with this new challenge for a long time,” said Matiang’i.

Muheria said the council is determined to do its best in balancing Kenyans’ expectations and the sense of safety.

He said their consultations will be premised on a play between risks involved, compliance and mitigation measures already in place.

Climbing curve

“We will consider all the concerns that come with reopening of the places of worship. We will be pragmatic in our discussions.

We have been urged to consult widely and engage those who can help us to work as soon as practically possible,” added Muheria.

The council explores re-opening of places of worship at a time when the coronavirus curve continues to climb.

The government has said most of the people who have turned positive for the virus are asymptomatic.

“To avoid being a health hazard, we need to follow meticulously the safety measures so that we can gather safely and we will have places we can worship in and not open dangers,” said Muheria.

The team has also been tasked to develop protocols for celebrating weddings and other religious ceremonies in the places of worship under social distancing guidelines.

They will then file a report to Uhuru, through the National and County Government’s coordinating summit.

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