The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kaduna state has asked church leaders in the state to support government efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Rev. John Hayab, President of CAN in the state, made the call in a statement issued on Thursday in Kaduna.
“The church, as a school of faith, known for having large meetings for services, weddings, burials, prayer meetings, crusades and revival services, must strive to join forces with government officials and health professionals to prevent the spread of this virus.
“Our role should not be just to pray, but we should be seen taking concrete steps towards the well-being of our herds and the country in general.
“The CAN Kaduna state, therefore, wants to appeal to all pastors and Church leaders to read official guidelines and information about the virus and then tell their members.”
He also warned against relying on social media platforms for information about the pandemic, as many of these platforms contain unverified and misleading information.
“Therefore, we will use the information available at the Ministry of Health and other recognized government agencies.
“CAN believes in the effectiveness of prayers, but wants to say that Christians should use the pulpit to say only what is medically correct.
“It will not be appropriate for a pastor to tell his members to come for prayers and special anointing just without doing what is necessary, such as washing their hands regularly, maintaining the necessary distance to avoid contacts that could lead to infection by the virus.
“We can also help to reduce the spread of the virus by suspending our large collection activities for the time being.”
He advised pastors to use unit leaders and cell group prayer teams to enlighten church members about the virus.
“In doing so, we could reach more members without being in large meetings.”
“All churches must provide hand sanitizers at the entrance of the church, so that those who come to the service apply before entering the church.
“CAN will be happy to have health professionals who come to Church facilities with genuine equipment to test the faithful.
“If possible, we will minimize handshakes and hugs to help fight the spread of the virus,” said Hayab.
The CAN president said that the association will work with government and health agencies to educate and mobilize the public in combating the virus, using the right information and appropriate guidance.
“CAN is asking our president not to allow anyone to make politics with this serious challenge.
“The federal government must bring together qualified experts to develop simple messages for transmission and distribution in places of worship, car parks, airports, schools and at all meetings,” he said.