By FRANCINA CHOMBA
THE United Church of Zambia (UCZ) has suspended Holy Communion and
baptism and urged congregants to embrace electronic payment of tithe,
offerings in an effort to contain the outbreak of Corona virus
And National Guidance and Religious Affairs Minister Godfridah Sumaili
has commended the clergy across the country for complying with the
stipulated health guidelines which was evidenced by a number of church
activates being suspended amid the outbreak of the pandemic.
This is according to a letter dated March 24, 2020 and signed by UCZ
Synod Bishop Sichilima and the general secretary Peggy Kabonda.
Bishop Sichilima said the church was of the view that the sacrament of
baptism could be conducted at home in the presence of members only
while Holy Communion would only be given in exceptional circumstances.
He said remitting of tithes and offerings was part of worship
therefore families should utilise mobile money and online banking
services to lessen the spread of COVID-19.
“All church gatherings including church worship has been suspended
with immediate effect…In a situation where need arise for meetings,
such gatherings should not exceed 10 persons with social distancing of
2 meters apart,” Bishop Sichilima said.
He said funerals, wedding and other forms of gatherings should also be
limited to a few people and further encouraged each congregation to
establish a COVID-19 committee while all other church related
activities would only be allowed with public health order and would
not exceed an hour.
Bishop Sichilima said the Synod would endeovour to establish a
COVID-19 church fund and mobilise resources from churches, individuals
and other donor sponsors to enable them procure personal protective
equipment to support local churches, the ministry of health and
protect church ministries for patrol care activates related to
congregants who might be ill.
He stated that UCZ would fully support Government’s efforts to contain
COVID -19 reinforce the need for its structures and congregants to
abide by the guidelines and latter of the order by the state.
And Rev Sumaili encouraged worshipers to pray from home and embrace
live screening kind of worshipping aired on Facebook and other social
“Obviously we have to set stringent health measures to protect our
people and church leaders have the responsibility to ensure that their
members are safe because COVID-19 is aggressive and spreading very
fast so any form of gathering should not be encouraged,” she said.