Namibia: Coastal Churches Trying to Adhere to Distancing Rules

Some coastal churches are savouring the blessing of being able to start gathering for prayers again, after the country's migration to stage 3 of its Covid-19 lockdown.

Although they are facing challenges with only fifty people allowed at church gatherings, congregations at the coast say they are trying to adhere to the rules.

The pastor of the Potters House church at Swakopmund, Harold Booysen, said fifty people are better than no meeting at all.

"Yesterday was awesome, but strange. Saved people are not used to stand or sit far from each other, but we managed to keep the social distancing. We did not shake hands or greet with elbows, and we had sanitisers available. It is a gradual start, but we are pleased," he said.

"It felt good to be in the house of the Lord with other believers," said Nangula Ileimo. "I would rather see my pastor preach in person. Wearing masks, sitting far from each other and all that was weird and church without kids is not the same."

"We had our first service immediately. We kept fifty people and will try to do services in intervals," said Elda Kharases, the secretary of Shalom Pentecoastal Church. "It was so wonderful. We filmed and will send the clips on social media to the rest of the members."

Christians at Walvis Bay are also hoping to join in with the rest of the country soon.

"We cannot wait for that day, although fifty people will be a challenge. Others will have church through the radio. Why can we not gather in the churchyard, far from each other?" asked Albertina Shikonda from the Elcin Hosiana Parish.

"We miss church services, but we also have to listen to our leaders. It will be tough to limit to fifty people, though. We have over a thousand members. We appreciate the opening and will try hard to make something work," said deacon Josef Damaseb from the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic parish.

"We are waiting patiently. If only we could just be allowed to gather at sports fields and stand far from each other," said Meriam Nendongo from the Intercession Powerhouse ministry.

Some churches still have live-stream options when they cannot make it to the list of fifty.

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