By Jalira Namyalo
The Church of Uganda has welcomed the reopening of churches for public worship but asked the President to remove the restriction that bars a congregation of more than 70 worshippers per gathering.Church of Uganda Archbishop Stephen Samuel Kaziimba commended the President for allowing the reopening of the churches beginning with 70 people at a time in line with social distancing guidelines. He said the believers have been longing for the day when they can gather again for prayers.However, Archbishop Kaziimba wondered how the churches will split thousands of worshippers into small congregations of 70 people spread across the different services on Sundays.The prelate appealed to government to reconsider the restriction and allow maximum sitting based on the number of square metres in a given worship space rather than a fixed number of people regardless of size of the room or hall.“…it will be impossible for the entire congregation to be able to gather in different groups of 70 people for a corporate worship service. My own cathedral, for example, averages 4,000 people on a Sunday. To cater for all the 4,000 people in groups of 70, we would need to schedule 57 different worship services, which is simply not practical,” the archbishop told journalists yesterday at his residence in Namirembe, Rubaga Division.While issuing the pastoral letter, Archbishop Kaziimba also appealed to the government to allow outdoor gatherings for worship with all appropriate standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place.On Sunday, President Museveni announced the reopening of places of worship, which were closed in March following the lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19.Meanwhile, Archbishop Kaziimba yesterday also announced a general thanksgiving service on October 4 for keeping people alive through the lockdown. He urged the Christians who have been setting aside money as offering to hand it over to their respective churches on that day.The archbishop said every diocesan office has received a copy of the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda’s guidelines on resumption of worship in different public places “We also urge the continuation of all media-based worship services, whether by radio, television, Facebook, You Tube or video-conferencing and for families to utilise them in their routine worship at home,” he added.