Several churches in Garissa town and neighbouring Madogo and Mororo, Tana River County yesterday resumed worship services that were characterised by low turnout by faithful.
This was attributed to the strict guidelines contained in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s address to the nation on July 6 spelling out conditions for re-opening of places of worship that included barring those aged above 58 and below 13 from going to places of worship.
Other conditions to be observed are that the church services should not take more than one hour, there should be no praise in worship, while those attending should not exceed 100 people among other restrictions.
Although majority of the clergy and their faithful welcomed the re-opening of places of worship, they faulted restricting those above 58 and the number to be in attendance.
Most of the churches and mosques in Nairobi with huge following said they would not be opening until the number of those allowed to attend is reviewed.
Talking to the press outside his Mororo Redeemed Gospel church, Rev David Matolo insisted that the guidelines should be reviewed and the clergy allowed to manage their places of worship.
“The same people the government are restricting to attend the church services are allowed to travel by public means and eat at restaurants,” Matolo said.
“I am still asking President Uhuru Kenyatta to relax the restrictions for places of worship. The clergy should be allowed to manage their services,” he added.
On age limit, Matolo said that clergies above 58 have the wisdom to run places of worship and they should not be barred from attending church services.
He said if the age limit is not removed, then most rural places of worship in rural areas that are run and attended by the elderly may have to be closed.
Peter Masila, a member of the Redeemed Church said he was delighted to be back at his place of worship despite the restrictions.
Masila said that most of the faithful who don’t own smart phones and cannot afford a TV set or a radio were not able to follow church services on social media, radio or TV.
“I want to thank the government for opening up places of worship because following Ministry of Health protocols is not enough. Corona virus also requires Divine intervention, “Masila said.