Home South African Midnight church services not allowed, religious leaders warned

Midnight church services not allowed, religious leaders warned


SA Council of Churches has urged religious leaders to abide by Covid-19 regulations

File picture: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

THE SA Council of Churches has urged religious leaders to abide by Covid-19 disaster regulations, especially over Christmas and on New Year’s Eve, as traditional midnight ceremonies are not allowed this year.

The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, recently gazetted amended curfew regulations, in terms of which annual crossover night services are not allowed.

The regulations state that 10pm is the daily closing time for establishments, including faith-based institutions, cinemas and theatres.

The SA Council of Churches’ general secretary, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana said parishes could not afford to break the rules.

“Different churches have different ways of doing things, but we expect all churches to abide by the regulations. No church is above the law. If there were no curfews, there were going to be parties everywhere and that would increase the number of people being infected by the Covid-19 virus. The curfew is meant for everyone. As long as you are a citizen, you are expected to act accordingly,” Mpumlwana said.

“As churches we need to be supporting one another by making sure that we abide and we pray for the virus to end. Remember, we are at war here with an invisible enemy and we need to defeat it by abiding by the regulations and through prayer.”

The SA Council of Messianic Churches in Christ’s national co-ordinator, Melikhaya Qotoyi, said the council had issued a memorandum to branches instructing them to cancel night services.

“As the council, we respect the amended regulations by the minister. We have also issued a memo to other churches in all provinces urging them to act accordingly,” Qotoyi said.

“We must be on the safe side at all times. We have made it clear that those who were planning a night cross-service should cancel it. We may not be satisfied with the amended gazette but at the end of the day we are the citizens of this country.”

Apostle Sindile Papu of the House of Prayer said the church would still hold a night service, but would abide by the curfew.

“Time is the issue; we usually knock off at 12pm but now the time is restricting us to knock off earlier, before 11pm,” Papu said.

“Some of us were fined more than R5,000 during Level 5 for not adhering to the regulations and congregating in numbers and some have criminal records for it.

“We have planned to look for a bigger venue, which will accommodate the required number and we will be able to social distance and sanitise at all times. The regulations set by the government are against us because as churches we have different beliefs and traditions of doing things.”

Previous articleUK-France border to stay open at Christmas to clear truck logjam
Next articleThe South Africans first in line for the Covid-19 vaccine