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COVID-19: No Church Service Until Further Notice

Christian churches have welcomed the precautionary measures put in place by Government, banning the gathering of 20 or more people.
22 Mar 2020 09:55
COVID-19: No Church Service Until Further Notice

Christian churches have welcomed the precautionary measures put in place by Government, banning the gathering of 20 or more people.

The ban came into effect on Friday after Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama confirmed the country’s first COVID-19 case.

As of yesterday, there are now two confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country. The patients are related.

On Friday, the PM also outlined a number of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.

“Gathering of 20 or more people are now banned nationwide effective immediately,” the PM said.

In this context, gathering is defined as any assembly of individuals in a single location, including meetings, religious gatherings, such as church, mosque and temple services, and sporting events.

As a result churches have enforced stringent measures for the safety and well-being of their members.

Methodist Church

Deputy General-Secretary of the Methodist Church of Fiji Reverend Iliesa Naivalu has advised all members to strictly adhere to all precautionary measures conveyed by Government.

Reverend Naivalu said: “Church programmes that require gatherings and meetings of over 20 people have all been cancelled until further notice.

This, he said included church services on Sundays.

Assemblies of God (AOG)

The Assemblies of God of Fiji has done the same and advised members to respect the decision announced by the PM.

AOG Fiji General Secretary Reverend Filikesa Koroivueti said the church was to refrain from holding meetings, which required attendance of more than 20 people.

“This may affect our Sunday service programme. All Senior Pastors must exercise wisdom in this matter. All national and divisional planned activities and programmes in our national calendar till the end of March shall be deferred untill further notice,” Rev Koroivueti said.

Seventh-day Adventist Church

Church general secretary Joe Talemaitoga said they had suspended all local services throughout the country until further notice.

“Our church buildings are closed from March 21, but you can still worship from the comfort of your homes,” he said.

“We invite you to continue to meet online and in small groups every Sabbath, watching and listening to ‘HOPE at HOME’ coming live on Hope TV Channel and Hope FM.”

New-Methodist Christian Fellowship

Senior Superintendent of the New Methodist Christian Fellowship Pastor Atunaisa Vulaono also supports the ban.

He said the church would adhere to precautionary measures put in place by Government and cancel all of its gatherings effective immediately.

“However, we will be airing delayed coverage of sermons from different churches and denominations on MAI TV daily and every Sundays for everyone to tune in to,” pastor Vulaono said.

“We continue to urge Fijians to pray for the country from wherever they are and for God’s will to prevail,” he said.

Catholic Church

The Catholic Church has also suspended all forms of church gatherings until further notice.

A statement issued by the Head of the Catholic Church in Fiji, Archbishop Peter Loy Chong, said: “It will mean that all Sunday masses will be put on hold until otherwise advised. The cancellation applies to all other church meetings and gatherings.

“Your understanding and support will be appreciated as we embrace the church’s responsibility to protect human life.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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