The Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC), has expressed its appreciation to President Nana Akufo-Addo, for lifting the restrictions imposed on church services, which were necessitated to curb the spread of COVID-19 among adherents.
Starting from 1 August 2020, there will be no restrictions on churches and mosques as far as the number of adherents is concerned, the President announced in his 14th COVID-19 address to the nation.
The services can go on for two hours at a time, the President said.
“In consultation with our church leaders, from 1st August 2020, the restrictions on the number of congregants worshipping at a time in church will be lifted, with the length of worship extended from one (1) to two (2) hours per service”, the President said.
“Church leaders, who are desirous of implementing this enhanced easing directive, must ensure that congregants wear face masks at all times, and the one (1) metre social distancing rule is scrupulously applied. These same guidelines apply to worship in our Mosques,” he noted.
Mr Akufo-Add added: “With greater numbers of congregants likely to return for worship, I would, respectfully, ask the religious leaders to pay even greater attention to the fresh air ventilation of their premises, rather than relying on the use of air conditioners.”
Following the announcement, the GPCC issued a statement signed by Rev. Emmanuel Barrigah, General Secretary, in which it said: “The President of the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC) wishes, on behalf of the National Executive Council (NEC), to thank the President for his 14th COVID -19 address to the nation on Sunday, July 26, 2020, and his decision to further ease some of the COVID-19 restriction orders on church activities”.
“While welcoming this move by the President, we wish to further appreciate him for his continuous engagement with the leadership of the religious community in Ghana in the decision-making process”, the statement said.
It noted that the Church and other religious groups have, in the last seven (7) weeks, during the partial easing of the restrictions, “amply demonstrated our commitment to protecting the lives of our congregants by scrupulously observing all the protocols”.
“No wonder there has not been any known reported church-related COVID-19 case since the partial easing of the restrictions seven weeks ago”, GPCC observed.
“The Council and its member churches are, however, not oblivious of the fact that the pandemic is still raging on with no vaccines in sight yet; at least, for the next few months and as such would not take it for granted and pretend all is well back to normalcy”, the statement noted.
It continued: “We have called on our member churches across Ghana to continue to observe strictly, all the protocols in spite of the further easing of restrictions”, adding: “As demonstrated by the Church, so far, we further call on all Ghanaians to follow the Church’s example by committing to observe all the preventive protocols for our own safety and that of our families, loved ones and especially our frontline health workers”.
The Council said it wishes to reiterate its earlier call on all political parties and their supporters to be responsible in their campaign activities ahead of the December 2020 general elections by committing to observing all the COVID-19 preventive protocols, so as to prevent further spikes in reported positive cases.
The GPCC said it would wish to also appreciate all Ghanaians “for your continued support and generosity toward the national efforts in combating the pandemic. We especially recognise the great sacrifices made by our gallant frontline healthcare workers, who have risked their lives and that of their families during these difficult times to ensure that we are all safe”.
“To the COVID-19 Private Sector Fund, we say kudos to your exceptional show of generosity, patriotism and ingenuity in mobilising resources, both financial and technical in putting up the first ever world class Infectious Disease Control Centre in Ghana in record time to help in the fight against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. May the Lord richly bless and recompense every group and individual who contributed to realising this project.
“We are by this press statement once again reiterating our fullest commitment and support to Government in the fight against this pandemic and we believe that with the cooperation of all Ghanaians backed by discipline and prayers, we shall overcome and this too shall pass”.