SICA WANTS ‘FAIRNESS’

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SICA Vice Chairman, Rev Bishop Eric Maefonea
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Gov’t asked to allow churches to reopen

By EDDIE OSIFELO

SOLOMON Islands Christian Association (SICA) says the Government should accord churches the same favour it had given to casinos to operate at this time.

Under latest curfew orders Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare signed, churches, bars and nightclubs within the Honiara Emergency zone will remain close.

Only casinos will reopen.

The order stated that the temporary suspension of church services, gatherings and meetings remain effective for both Sabbath and Sunday goers, weekdays included.

The government said it is evident that these gatherings contribute to the increase of community transmission of COVID 19 currently experienced.

But in a letter sent to Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet and copied to Ministry of Traditional Governance, Peace and Ecclesiastical Affairs yesterday, SICA requested the government to grant freedom to churches to open as it did with casinos.

SICA Vice Chairman, Bishop Eric Maefonea said churches are aware of the spread of covid-19 now.

However, Maefonea, who is the head of the South Seas Evangelical Church (SSEC), said if churches can provide sanitizers, congregation to stand 2-meter distance and wear masks, they should be allowed to gather for worship.

He said some churches are fairly small and can easily implement those COVID protocols.

“If the government can consider that, certainly, churches need to organize ourselves to meet the criteria,” he added.

Chairman of Solomon Islands Full Gospel Association (SIFGA) Pastor Ellison Bako said his executive is expected to meet on the matter this week.

“I will have to consult my executive before making any comments on the matter,” Bako told the Island Sun yesterday.

“I’m praying that the churches will open back soon,” he added.

Island Sun understands the Anglican’s St Barnabas Cathedral in Honiara has opened its Sunday Eucharist service from 9am to 10am since the lockdown under strict covid-19 protocols.

All Saints Anglican church has also opened on Sunday for its congregation to gather and worship.


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