Council of churches gives guidelines for services ahead of SOP

Church services across the country have been suspended since mid-March under the partial lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) today laid out additional guidelines for services in line with those earlier announced by the National Security Council (NSC), ahead of the standard operating procedures (SOP) to be announced for the reopening of churches under the conditional movement control order.

CCM general secretary Hermen Shastri told FMT worship services would continue to be streamed online with only 30 church committee members from churches in green zones such as the priest or pastor, musicians and other helpers allowed on premise to conduct the service.

“Other services like weddings, funerals and prayer meetings will be held when needed,” he said, adding that worship time would be restricted to one and a half hours.

In a statement, he said no physical contact would be allowed during worship including the laying of hands on others and sharing of communion trays. Likewise, choirs and backup singers will not be allowed.

He added that the church must be sanitised immediately after use with a break of two hours between different worship services.

He said church leaders would issue guidelines to their congregations in line with national and state SOP.

“SOP for the reopening of churches will be announced tomorrow,” he told FMT.

The NSC, in regard to mosques and suraus in the Federal Territories, previously said only those in green zones would be allowed to hold congregational gatherings.

It also restricted attendance to 30 worshippers with compulsory temperature screening, registration of attendees, wearing of masks and social distancing measures in place as well.

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