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Christians turn out en masse as churches reopen in Angola



RELIGIOUS activities took a lively turn in Angola yesterday as thousands of Christian faithful attended church services in Luanda, capital city of Angola, first time since coronavirus restrictions forced them to stay home for about six months.

  No fewer than 3,000 parishioners dressed in white were seen gathered at the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ In the World, also known as the Tocoist Church.

  The service lasted 90 minutes, much shorter than the traditional five hours was said to have the worshippers sit on chairs arranged a yard apart from each other for an open air service at the mega church in the Golfe II suburb.

  Religious gatherings were banned in March when Angola’s government imposed restrictions to help curb the spread of the coronavirus which had infected more than 3,900 people in Angola and killed at least 147 to date.

  Early this month, government announced that churches were free to resume services and celebrate mass, under strict mandatory use of face masks while ordering that all gatherings be held in well-ventilated spaces to limit the spread of the virus.

  According to report, members of the congregation raise their hands in prayer and thanksgiving at the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ In the World during the Sunday service in appreciation of survival from the deadly pandemic that has rocked the world since 2020.

  Face masks on and bibles in hand, parishioners orderly filed one at a time into the church complex through a gate.

  Except for choir members, the worshippers sang hymns with their masks on and waved white handkerchiefs.

 Speaking to the media after the service, 57-years old Clara Cale said, “Six months later! Oh yes! It’s been a long time; especially for us Christians…It seems like five, six years… have passed.

 She added that the gathering is primarily to celebrate their immense joy for surviving the pandemic so far.

  A church leader,  Don Afonso Nunes, , while expressing happiness to the media said  he was relieved at the decision to allow churches to resume services.

   “Thank to God! Today is a great day to resume our worship and we have to celebrate,” Afonso stated.

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