Bishop Oyedepo Under Fire For Holding Service At Canaanland Amidst Coronavirus Lockdown
–Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has directs churches to begin the use of Home Cells and online services to conduct the Sunday services and the Mid-Week Services where membership is above fifty
Presiding Bishop of Living Faith Church Worldwide also known as Winners’ Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo, has come under fire on social media for holding service at the church’s headquarters in Ota, Ogun State despite the coronavirus global pandemic.
Oyedepo held a mega service at the church’s headquarters known as Canaanland on Sunday in defiance of the state government’s order for gatherings, social and religious, to be restricted to 50 persons.
The church had on Friday released a memo instructing each of its provinces to create more cells in members’ houses as part of efforts to reduce large gatherings
A source, however, told Naijatv.Net on Sunday that a press release by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) changed the church’s direction
“After that memo by the church, CAN made a release later in the evening stating that, “for those who may not be aware and still come nationwide, the forum or service should be used to sensitize them about the corona epidemy, the need to stay at home and how to worship henceforth in the meantime, praying for the nation and the world, Just for public awareness,” the source said.
“So we can describe it as a ‘public awareness service’. Very few people, as expected, were not aware and came. They were properly educated.
“Even up till 10 pm yesterday, we were still not sure it should hold. Leadership was reluctant and put a call across to CAN. But they said it is the responsibility of churches to properly sensitize ignorant members.”
Nigerians on Twitter have begun attacking Oyedepo for the action.
Below is the directive from CAN President issued through Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, Special Assistant Media & Communications to the CAN President, His Eminence, Rev Dr Samson Ayokunle.
COVID-19: CAN’s Further Directive to Denominational Leaders.
Sequel to the ban on all crowded religious and social gatherings with a view to stopping the spread of COVID-19, the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has directed churches to begin the use of Home Cells and online services to conduct the Sunday services and the Mid-Week Services where membership is above fifty.
However, the attention of the President, His Eminence, Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo A. Ayokunle has been drawn to a situation where some Christians might still go to their churches tomorrow, Sunday, 22 March, 2020 for one reason or the other, since they cannot be sent away by the church, Pastors should allow such people to worship and use the occasion to create the awareness.
But they must follow these guidelines and precautions:
(i) The body temperature of all worshippers must be taken before they are allowed into the church. Thosee with high body temperature should be directed to seek medical attention immediately.
(ii) Each branch/assembly should provide alcohol-based hand rub (sanitizer) for use.
(iii) Regular washing of hands with soap and water; use of same towel is not allowed.
(iv) Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
(v) Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
(vi) Drink hot water regularly
(vii) Practice respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose the used tissue immediately.
(viii) If you have fever, cough and difficulty in breathing, then seek medical care early
It is our hope that very soon, coronavirus will become history all over the world in Jesus Name.
Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, Special Assistant (Media &Communications) to the CAN President, His Eminence, Rev Dr Samson Ayokunle.
21 March 2020.