Award-winning gospel musician and reverend Benjamin Dube has announced that his church, High Praise Centre in Johannesburg, will not open its doors under level 3 of the lockdown unless everyone can attend services.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced last week that churches may open from June 1, with strict safety precautions.
These include limiting services to a maximum of 50 people, sanitising the entire building before and after services, and all worshippers must strictly adhere to social distancing and wear a mask.
The decision caused a heated debate across the country, with several churches announcing they would remain closed over concerns about the safety of congregants. Many celebrities including Khaya Mthethwa, who is the head pastor at Oasis Church in Umlazi and Joburg, also added their voice to the debate saying it was not a good idea.
Dube took to Instagram to speak about his decision, and announce that his church would remain closed.
“Though the government has given churches the opportunity to assemble and be together, under strict conditions, High Praise Centre is not going to open our doors for everyone to come in. We are going to stay closed until level 2 if level 2 allows us to open to everyone. If it is level 1 that allows us to open to everyone, we will consider opening at level 1.”
He said that his church would reopen when all those who wanted to attend would be allowed.
“By virtue of the number of congregants we have, we are not able to open for only 50 people maximum. We have taken this decision to keep the church closed until everyone is allowed to come.”
The “Do It Lord” singer said he will stream services live online each week, encouraging his followers to keep strong during the pandemic.
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