Members of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) took part in a training session to discuss ways to guard against Covid-19 at the Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) council chambers recently.
SACC regional deputy secretary and CHDM deputy mayor Noncedo September-Caba said the church leaders discussed how to safely reopen places of worship and how to follow regulations set to fight Covid-19 at funerals. “These include safety precautions such as social distancing, wearing masks and so forth, emphasising the importance of following the safety guidelines.”
September-Caba said representatives from environmental health and the health department were present to provide presentations for the two sessions. She pointed out some of the challenges raised by concerned church leaders which, among others, was the stigmatisation of those infected with the virus. She also mentioned that some funerals were conducted without the observation of law enforcement officials and municipal representatives, which was a concern brought up by members during the session.
Reverend Patrick Msengana from the Anglican Church of Southern Africa said it was important for congregations to comply with the government. “We need to work as agents of transformation and make sure people are aware of the regulations of the government. We need to make sure that we offer pastoral care where there is a need. Such workshops are to prepare us for when congregants return to church. I think we are on the right path. One of the major concerns is the issue of stigma and people who do not want to comply with rules and regulations. Those were the main challenges raised in this workshop.”