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Covid-19: Archbishop Ibezim suspends wedding, collation, others indefinitely

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Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of the Niger and Bishop of Awka Diocese (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Alexander Chibuzo Ibezim has placed an indefinite suspension on wedding, collation/ordination, burial and other crowd-gathering church activities in the diocese and the province at large.

This was contained in a press release signed by the Archbishop and made available to newsmen in Awka, Anambra State, in which he also stated the stand and position of the province and the diocese regarding the trending Covid-19 pandemic.

Other activities suspended by the Archbishop include the diocesan monthly Elshaddai programme, palm sunday procession, diocesan lenten prayer convention, vigils, celebration of peace (which includes shaking of hands and hugging), and use of a common cup for wine-distribution in Holy Communion, among others.

Titled ‘Covid-19: The position of The Province/Diocese’; the text of the press release reads, in part, 

“In line with governments directives, we want to restate that all actions of the church should be in line with World Health Organization’s Standard. Consequently, the Province has prayerfully taken the following decisions:

“Maintain high health standards and clean environments; provide hand washing facilities and educate and enforce strict compliance; maintain approved spacing standards of 5-6 feets.

“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.

“The diocese had earlier banned the celebration of peace which includes shaking of hands, hugging, e.t.c. The use of a common cup for wine-distribution in Holy Communion Services has been banned. Church has been directed to procure and use small disposable cups henceforth.

“Vicars and Parish Priests are encouraged to maintain office hours with prayers said at intervals of 9am, 12noon, 3pm and 6pm. The prayers can be organized for the Vicar’s family, with that of there Curates, Church Teachers/Catechists and neighbours.

“The operative hours of our offices in the diocese have been limited to 9am to 12noon until further notice. These include the Diocesan Central Office, Deanery/Archdeaconries, Parishes, Churches and Institution’s offices.

“All officiating ministers are advised to be snappy in the activities, not lasting more than one hour for each function. While relying and depending on the Mercy of God for His divine intervention, we continue to pray for this scourge to pass over us in Jesus Name. Amen.”

Archbishop Ibezim further appreciated Governor Willie Obiano for his concerted efforts towards ensuring that the pandemic does not find its way into the state, even as he urged the citizens to support and complement the effort of the government, by consummately adhering to the already issued safety tips and other such measures, as may be issued from time to time.

These, he said, will aid immensely in winning the war against the virus.

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