Ghanaian worship centers prepare to open after long months of shutdown. Ghana is the second most impacted nation after Nigeria. At some point in May, 2020 was the leading region with the highest positive Coronavirus cases. However, in June, the country has been undergoing progressive lifting of the virus restrictions. President Akufo-Addo recently allowed some categories of the academic institutions to resume; however, borders remain closed.
The Ghanian government allows religious centers to resume; however, they will be following strict conditions and the observance of health protocols. Social gatherings such as funerals and weddings were also allowed to resume under conditions. Events should only operate with a maximum of 100 people. The government allowed political events and activities to resume too.
Ghanaian Churches are reluctant to re-open.
Despite the President easing Covid-19 restrictions on social gatherings, some churches choose not to assemble for services until further notice. The provisions included 25% of the attendance while the maximum being 100 participants per service. They are expected to maintain the 1-meter rule of social distancing between worshippers.
Churches like Destiny Empowerment Chapel International, The Makers House, International Central Gospel Church, and Spirit life Revival Ministries decided to carry on with virtual services. This decision is based on the premise of protecting their congregation from contracting the disease.
“Virtual services will enable us to maintain the appropriateness of the protocol throughout the churches in the country,” said Rev. Morris Appiah, General Secretary of ICGC
The Ghanaian church elders are using this month to assess, monitor, and evaluate all protocols through exercises with chosen native assemblies in various districts. In the meantime, the elders encourage their worshippers to continue with online fellowship. Renowned people like Pastor Mensah Otabil handle some of these services. This decision is in the interest of its participants by ensuring the church first provides a safe space for its followers and visitors.
The Cost of Operating Churches during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The composition of Ghanaian churches include members from diverse backgrounds and different locations. Churches, therefore, must put in these considerations to make sure they provide a secure environment. However, the cost and pressure of installing the required equipment are relatively high. When the churches put into consideration the size of the congregation and the number of services required, the running expenses are high. The protocols also such as noting down of names of all members and submitting the list to the authorities for every service is part of the logistics. The church must also be very conversant with the health of the active participants in each service.
With the above logistics and protocols required, most of the churches will remain closed until further notice. Most church leaders await more clarity, and hopefully, the sanctions will be relaxed some more before operations resume. The Christian Council of Ghana backed this decision and encouraged to restrain from re-opening churches despite the partial ease of restrictions.
“The church needs ample time to prepare and strategize critically during this period,” said Dr. Paul Kwabena Boafo, chairman of the council.
He also adds that church leaders need to train, plan, and educate its congregation on how to efficiently implement the protocols or else things can get out of hand very fast.