The Pentecostal Alliance of Kenya wants dissolution of the interfaith council formed to spearhead phased re-opening of churches amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Alliance chair Jonah Kariuki said the Inter-Faith Council on the National Response to the Corona Pandemic has misled the government instead of advising it on the importance and the place of the church during the pandemic.
He added that the alliance is disappointed with the decisions by the government and the council even as cases of the virus in the country continue to increase significantly.
As of July 12, Kenya had passed the 10,000 mark with 379 more cases of Covid-19. The number of deaths stood at 185 and the recoveries at 2,881.
Bishop Kariuki said on Saturday, “The church cannot be perceived as the place where the virus is being spread yet people are interacting all day long in marketplaces, matatus and other places.”
He added, “Do we have a pandemic that knows the church and not the market? These people are going to markets and are travelling in buses and matatus yet they can’t come to church.”
The alliance further said that limiting services to an hour is an insult to God and noted that the Constitution covers the freedom of worship.
Bishop Kariuki said the solution to the pandemic lies with the church as it is only through prayer that God will have mercy on the world.
He said the government must not put the church in the same category as clubs and bars.
“This country must realise that the church of Jesus Christ must not suffer because of lack of knowledge,” he said on Sunday.
The alliance further said the council does not sufficiently represent evangelical and pentecostals yet their population is the highest.
Bishop Kariuki noted that according to the 2009 census, evangelicals and pentecostals are the majority in Kenya, numbering about 18 million.
The alliance said Catholics are about nine million in number and Muslims about three million.
“Every religion should have been allowed to come up with guidelines on how to ensure health guidelines are observed. There is no way people from different faiths can agree how to worship their gods,” he said.
“Muslims cannot plan how Christians worship, Hindus cannot plan how Muslims or Christians worship and vice versa,” he said.
The alliance also said the age limit of 13-58 goes against the right to worship so it should not be embraced.
The Clergy Association of Kenya raised similar concerns in a statement on Sunday, Executive Member Bishop Hudson Ndeda saying the restrictions, including having only 100 people in services that last one hour, lower the significance of the church.
Bishop Ndeda said the time limit does not make sense given there is no limit for other social spaces, including public service vehicles.
“The members we have in our churches are the very ones who, for six days, are meeting in matatus, markets, supermarkets and restaurants. Why is it that everywhere else the capacity is determined by social distance?
“The move makes one wonder if Covid-19 is anti-church or if some people are using it to fight the church in Kenya. Can someone clearly tell Kenyans that the church is no longer needed in this country instead of hiding behind Covid-19?”
Following the council’s submission of its recommendations, churches are expected to start re-opening next week.
The announcement has drawn mixed reactions, with churches such as Christ is the Answer Ministries (Citam) saying they will remain closed until further notice.
Bishop Ndeda, of Bethel Christian Pentecostal Church, said the council did not consult them.
“Kenya has several church and clergy umbrella bodies but they are not well represented in the council. We realise some of them have no interest in re-opening as seen in their letters,” he said.
The official wants the council’s recommendations evaluated and “more practical” rules developed in a process that will include all stakeholders.
“If we are not careful, the wrath of God will fall heavily on this country. Let us respect God and the church. Anybody dealing with or talking about the Church must exercise a lot of care and humility,” he said.
Europe beckons for South African rugby after Kiwi snub
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Jul 20 – World Cup-winning Springbok Schalk Brits believes the future of South African rugby lies in Europe after New Zealand said there was no room for sides from the republic in Super Rugby.
“All of this jet lag and flying across different time zones just does not work,” said the hooker who retired after the triumphant 2019 World Cup campaign.
“We have got so many South Africans playing in Europe and it would be awesome to see them in action here for European clubs.”
With New Zealand favouring a trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition, South Africa Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux will address the media Tuesday about the way forward.
There has been no rugby in South Africa since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, which claimed 5,033 lives by late Sunday, the most in an African country.
Here, AFP Sport looks at the possibilities for the world champions Springboks and Super Rugby teams the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers.
There has been speculation that the six-round annual tournament will be cut to four matches with New Zealand and Australia playing in South Africa only every second year.
That would be a huge blow for SA Rugby coffers as the century-old rivalry with the All Blacks makes them a huge drawcard.
South Africa might consider abandoning the Championship and pursuing a suggestion by former All Blacks Justin Marshall and Jeff Wilson for three-Test tours between the great rivals.
“British and Irish Lions tours are so successful because we look forward to them,” noted another ex-All Black, John Kirwan. The same could be said of an All Blacks-Springboks series.
Should South African franchises move north, would the Springboks follow suit and apply to join England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales in a ‘Seven Nations’ championship?
Having the world champions on board would surely excite the organisers and costs would be greatly reduced if the Springboks played their three away matches on consecutive weekends.
England, Ireland, France and Wales, in particular, would bring freshness for rugby followers, who have not rushed to the turnstiles for Championship visits by Australia and Argentina.
Ask the SA Rugby treasurer for his ‘dream’ line-up and he would surely say a multi-Test tour by the All Blacks and participation in the ‘Seven Nations’.
Although not official yet, the reality is that New Zealand want to play some Australian sides and the Pacific Islands in a new competition while excluding South Africa and Argentina.
The original version, a Super 10 between 1993 and 1995, was a superb competition, but constant tinkering and expansion has led to waning interest in a difficult-to-follow event.
Even those supporting the Golden Lions of South Africa could not have derived too much satisfaction from a 94-7 thrashing of Japanese visitors the Sunwolves three years ago.
South Africa sides often battled with time differences in Australasia — New Zealand is 11 hours ahead of the republic — and were weary after four-match tours.
Pro14 chief executive Martin Anayi says he would welcome Super Rugby ‘rejects’ the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers into an expanded edition.
“The tournament works well but could be even better if we added some South African teams,” he said, referring to a competition that also includes Irish, Italian, Scottish and Welsh teams.
But there may be no room for the two current South African Pro14 participants, the Cheetahs and Kings, who have experienced very different fortunes.
While the Cheetahs have been competitive, the Kings won just four of 55 matches in three seasons with some of the losing margins embarrassing.
The domestic competition has survived constant format changes to remain the vital ‘nursery’ from which Springboks emerge.
First staged in 1892, it was the bedrock of South African rugby until the dawn of professionalism after the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
As Test and Super Rugby fixtures took up an increasing amount of the season, the Currie Cup often battled for calendar space.
But it survived and this year could feature the four Super Rugby sides plus the Cheetahs, Kings, Griquas and Pumas, if play is possible amid the coronavirus.
Kenya records highest number of deaths from Covid-19
Kenya’s coronavirus cases rise to 13,771 after 418 more infections
Kenya on Monday reported 418 more Covid-19 infections, raising the country’s tally to 13,771 since the virus was first confirmed on March 13.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rashid Aman also reported four more deaths, raising the toll to 238. He rectified an earlier report about 19 deaths in a single day, which would have been the highest number ever recorded in Kenya.
The 418 new patients were found following the testing of 2,474 samples in the last 24 hours.
Four hundred and eight of them were Kenyans and 10 foreigners while male patients numbered 263 and female patients 155.
Dr Aman also announced that 494 patients had been discharged, raising the country’s total number of recoveries to 5,616.
Of the recovered patients, 465 were under home care and the rest in hospitals.
More to follow