Low turnout marks reopening of churches in Nyeri

Ushers fumigating seats at Victors Chapel church in Karatina Town before ushering in members for another service.

Low turnout marked the resumption of congregational worship in many churches within Nyeri County.

Though many had adhered to the safety precautions spelt out by the government to curb the spread of Covid-19, many worshippers kept off churches.

Some of the preachers attributed the low turnout to the age protocol as well as fear of contracting the deadly respiratory disease given that a sizable number of infections were traced to churches in parts of Europe.

A spot check at various churches showed that many had complied with procedures including provision of handwashing water, taking temperatures of their members as well entering their names and ages in a register.

In some churches, registered members were required to sit in specific numbered seats that conformed to the number on the ticket issued at the reception desk for traceability purposes.

Some also went ahead to fumigate seats and doors and any other parts prone to touch after every service.

At PCEA Karatina Parish, the church had gone ahead and erected an isolation tent manned by a nurse and equipped with a bed and first aid kit to take care of any emergency such as a member who would record an above normal temperature.

The Parish Minister, Rev David Chege, said they had three services today but none of them attained the maximum required number of 100 worshippers despite the church having a membership of over 1, 000.

He was however optimistic that the numbers would improve in days to come even as he called on their followers not to fear going to church as all measures had been laid down to safeguard them.

It was a similar story at Victors Chapel in the same area with services being squeezed to conform to the set time protocol of one hour per service.

The church’s spiritual leader, Bishop William Githinji, said they will continue with online services which had become the norm since churches were closed down three months ago for the sake of those who cannot make it to church for one reason or another.

“The 100 members allowed in a church is just an extension of the 15 that were previously allowed and so we will have to continue with online services to take care of the many who can’t come to church including the young and elderly,” said the priest.

Rev Chege also said they had incorporated online services to reach those unable to come to church as well as preparing special programmes and materials for children in audiovisual format.