Obinna Odogwu, Awka

Archbishop, Province of the Niger, Anglican Communion, and Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Revd (Dr) Alexander Chibuzo Ibezim, has announced the suspension of church activities in the diocese.

He also announced that church leaders of the dioceses and in the province have resolved to abide by the directives given by the Anambra State government, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other relevant authorities which were targeted at ensuring that the dread coronavirus disease does not spread.

Archbishop Ibezim reeled out other directives to the Anglican faithful at a press conference held in Awka, the state capital.

He said: “In line with government’s directives, we want to restate that all actions of the church should be in line with World Health Organization’s standard.

“All church activities in the diocese that usually attract large crowds have been suspended until further notice. These includes: Elshaddai monthly programme, Palm Sunday Processions, Diocesan Lenten Prayer Convention, Collation of Archdeacons and Installation of Canons, vigils, weddings, burials, and other forms of celebrations.

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“The use of a common cup for wine distribution in Holy Communion services has been banned. Churches have been directed to procure and use small disposable cups henceforth.

“There should be maintenance of high health standards and clean environments; we will provide hand washing facilities and educate and enforce strict compliance”, he said among other directives.

Meanwhile, the wife of the state governor, Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano, has called on mothers in the Catholic Church to guard their families against the dreaded coronavirus disease.

Mrs Obiano in a special message in Awka to mark Mothering Sunday for the Catholic Church also appealed to the women to ensure compliance with Coronavirus prevention guidelines released by the state government and other relevant authorities.

She said: “We are in uncertain and challenging times occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic which has drastically altered our normal way of life. We should be celebrating on this special day, but we are called to put it off and shoulder the responsibility of ensuring the survival of our families and everyone by making sure we do the right things to avoid the threatening COVID-19 scourge.”