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Churches in Lagos State are reopening today after four and a half weeks of lockdown occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
But while Catholics, Methodists, Anglicans and the leadership of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, in the state are resuming services, two senior clerics, Pastors Tunde Bakare and Chris Okotie, are asking their members to continue to worship from home.
The Federal Government had, on March 30, directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and Ogun States as well as the FCT as part of the measures to curb coronavirus escalation in Lagos.
Since then, worship centers in the two states have remained shut.
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had, announced the reopening of worship centres in Lagos with effect from today but at 50 per cent capacity.
Lagos CAN Chairman, Apostle Alex Bamgbola, in a statement on behalf of heads of the five blocs of CAN, said the reopening was a loud testimony to the prayers of church leaders.
In a similar development, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, called on all members of the church to begin attending service today.
Adeboye said although some services will continue to hold online, congregants must be physically present in church as it attracts more blessings.
The cleric spoke in a video message titled, ‘From Lockdown to Leaping Up’, saying people should not be deceived into thinking that attending service at home had become a permanent thing.
Living Faith Church also known as Winners Chapel announced it’s reopening on Twitter
On his part, the Serving Overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church, formerly known as Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, directed members of his church to ignore the directive of the Lagos government on the reopening of worship centres.
Bakare faulted the decision to reopen worship centers when the Nigerian Center for Disease Control, NCDC, projected that COVID-19 may reach its peak this month (August), advising worshippers not to be “deceived by government or religious leaders”.
“I have to appeal to you once again, please keep safe and do your best to stay alive. Do not let anyone, whether religious leader or governmental leader, to drive you like a sheep to the slaughter,” Bakare said.
“If they (government and the authorities) said that the month of August is going to be the peak of the infection, why should they ask people to rush in (re-open churches) again?
Daystar Christian Centre has also told it’s members that doors will remain shut
“Please keep safe and do your best to keep alive by keeping all the necessary rules. We know that by the grace of God this pandemic, like the others before it, has an expiry date. It shall not see our end. We shall see its end in the mighty name of Jesus.”
In a statement titled: ‘WHY WE CAN’T WEAR MASK IN CHURCH’, Pastor Chris Okotie urged members of the Household of God Church not to resume service today.
According to the superintendent of the Oregun, Lagos-based church in a 28-minute voice recording sent via WhatsApp to his church members, wearing of masks or face shield was unacceptable.
Citing Bible references, the pastor said “for Christians to wear any type of mask or face shield to church is to reintroduce the veil which was torn the moment Jesus died on the cross.”
Meanwhile Nigerians on social media have divergent views on the reopening
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