The Executive Council of the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria, LCCN, has called on all member churches to comply with government directives on the various measures taken to curb the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus in the country.
Reading out resolutions of the council after its emergency meeting, where the council reflected on the spread and impacts of the COVID-19, the Archbishop of the LCCN, Most Reverend Musa Panti-Filibus, said all conventions, seminars and conferences of the LCCN at all levels had been suspended indefinitely.
Arch-Bishop Panti-Filibus, who also doubles as the President of the Lutheran World Federation, said all LCCN schools should comply with government directives and close by Friday, March 27, 2020, while all clergy and congregational leaders had been directed to find alternative ways of organizing worship in small cells of not more than 50 people at a time.
He said even in the small cells, worship services should be short and members should worship in congregations nearest to them while strengthening private devotions by families at homes.
“Members to adhere to “social distancing” and exercise restraint from personal contacts, such as greeting each other with a handshake at worships and daily life,” Arch Bishop Panti-Filibus said.
According to him, the celebration of Holy Communion is suspended until further notice, while attendance at burials and funeral services should be limited to close family members of the deceased only.
The Executive Council of the LCCN also suspended weddings and large gatherings until further notice the situation comes under control.
“We urge members to practice personal hygiene including frequent handwashing with soap and running water, use of hand sanitizers and to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Congregations are directed to provide soap and clean water or hand sanitizers at every church entrance or any gathering,” he said
Most Reverend Panti-Filibus said members should practice respiratory hygiene by covering mouths and noses with bent elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing, and dispose of the used tissue immediately.
“Anyone that has fever, cough and difficulty in breathing, should seek medical care immediately. No stigma should be attached to anyone that exhibits any sign or is affected by the virus.” The Reverend added.
He said LCCN health centres and clinics should integrate awareness on the virus in their services and liaise with available government health programmes to respond to the virus while encouraging people to please stay at home and go out only when necessary.
The Lutheran Archbishop urged LCCN Pastors and congregational leaders to sustain the awareness campaign on the virus in all congregations and promote practices that contribute to halting its spread.
Above all, he encouraged members to carefully follow updates from government authentic sources, so as to keep them abreast with the information on COVID-19.