Several Nairobi churches, Jamia Mosque to remain closed

Several Nairobi churches, Jamia Mosque to remain closed

Several Nairobi churches and Jamia Mosque have announced that they will remain closed despite a directive allowing them to re-open.

Jamia Mosque, All Saints Cathedral, CITAM, Parklands Baptist Church (PBC) and Jubilee Christian Church will not be reopening.

“This is because the guidelines issued to limit prayers to only 100 persons per session are not practical for Jamia Mosque Nairobi given its centrality in the Central Business District of the capital city,” the Jamia Mosque Committee said in a statement.

Jamia Mosque can accommodate 5000 worshipers at a go but with the social distancing protocols the mosque can facilitate 1700 worshipers.

With a staff of 120, this making it seemingly impossible for them to reopen.

‘The restrictions coupled with where we are located makes it hard for us to open …the mosque has a capacity of thousands and selecting 100 people will be hard in the CBD,” Sheikh Ibrahim Lithome, a Muslim scholar, told Citizen TV.

All Saints Cathedral Provost Sammy Wainaina said they will not be reopening the church to allow to allow the inter-religious task-force to develop specific protocols suited to their context.

He also revealed that he had contracted COVID-19 but has fully recovered from it.

“I am in now in good health and declared free of coronavirus. Starting tomorrow July 12, I will be back to the service of the Lord,” he said in a statement.

Parklands Baptist Church stated that they will not reopen as they have more than 2000 congregants.

The church through its senior pastor averred that a significant portion of their members are families which affects the directive that persons below 13 years and above 58 years avoid attending services.

“…we are therefore concerned that the wholesome family fellowship which we greatly value will be affected if we reopen under the current guidelines,” Rev. Ambrose Nyangao said in a statement.

On his part, Bishop David Oginde said CITAM would also not be reopening in the interest of preserving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to him, the decision was arrived at after consultation with CITAM elders and the pastoral team.

“We shall continue to monitor the situation and advise accordingly,” Oginde said in a statement.

Both CITAM and PBC are however continuing to offer church services through television and radio stations as well as online platforms.

Bishop Allan Kiuna also announced on Friday that the Jubilee Christian Church (JCC) would remain closed but online services would be operational.

“It is our desire to protect each one of our members and ensure safety of everyone therefore we kindly ask our congregation to stay at home,” a statement on his Facebook page reads.

But as some churches and mosques opt to remain closed, some have already started preparing to reopen on Sunday, July 12.

Pastor Fredrick Okoko of the Word Church of All Nations in Kitengela is ready for the reopening but with some reservations.

“We welcome the move by the government but what concerns me is the time allocation, 1 hour is not even enough for praise and worship let alone the entire service,” he told Citizen TV.

On July 6, President Kenyatta announced the phased reopening of places of worship in the country but only if they comply with set regulations for public gatherings.

He said persons under the age of 13 years and those over the age of 58 as well as those with underlying health conditions shall not attend worship, also extending the suspension of Sunday schools and madrasas “until further notice.”

Kenya has so far recorded 9,726 cases of coronavirus, 2,832 recoveries and 184 deaths.