The International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), one of the popular churches in Ghana with a large congregation, has announced that it will remain closed despite government's decision to ease coronavirus restrictions and allow religious bodies to operate.
In his 10th address to the nation on Sunday, President Nana Akufo-Addo stated that churches and mosques can admit up 100 people during service. Church services, in particular, are not to extend beyond one hour.
However, members of ICGC will have to wait a little longer to return to church because the Presbytery - the church's highest decision-making body - has advised its local assemblies to remain closed until further notice.
A statement released on Tuesday by the church said that "all ICGC local assemblies will continue to fellowship together on-air and on-line as we join the General Overseer on Sundays for services, as we do now."
The statement signed by the General Secretary, Rev. Morris Appiah said, the "church will use the month of June to assess, monitor and evaluate all protocols in simulation exercises with selected local assemblies in various districts."
Read the full statement below
HEAD OFFICE OFFICIAL COMMUNICATION DIRECTIVES ON REOPENING ICGC ASSEMBLIES
Greetings to you all in the name of Jesus Christ in Our Year of Excellence.
The Presbytery of the Church has considered the directives issued by the Government of Ghana for the commencement of church services on the 7th of June 2020.
In line with this, the Presbytery hereby directs Pastors and ICGC local assemblies as follows:
1.0 Non-Opening of ICGC Churches
No ICGC local assembly shall be opened to run in-person church services until so advised by the Presbytery.
2.0 Sunday Services
All ICGC local assemblies will continue to fellowship together on air and on-line as we join the General Overseer on Sundays for services, as we do now.
3.0 Mid-week Services
Local Pastors will continue to minister to their congregations through on-line, on air, and social media channels during the week (Mondays - Saturdays).
4.0 Other church services
The Presbytery will soon issue directives on the conduct of weddings and funerals in our local assemblies.
Guidelines for Reopening of Churches
a. The Church will use the month of June to assess, monitor and evaluate all protocols in simulation exercises with selected local assemblies in various districts. This will enable us to determine the appropriateness and effectiveness of the protocols throughout our churches nation-wide various districts. This will enable us to determine the appropriateness and effectiveness of the protocols throughout our churches nationwide.
b. The Presbytery will issue clear instructions on the next steps to be followed by the Church depending on the outcomes of (a) above.
C. At the appropriate time, the Presbytery will issue instructions on the phased re-opening of local assemblies which will be informed by the following key factors:
i. The trend of the virus infections country-wide
ii. The reports on the spread of the virus in the districts where ICGC local assemblies are located
iii. The preparedness of the local assemblies in various districts to run church services.
6.0 Compliance All pastors and local assemblies shall fully comply with these and other subsequent directives issued by Presbytery.
7.0 Conclusion We are mindful of the need for our congregations to gather and worship freely and openly. However, the current situation demands that we also consider the health and safety of all congregants.
We pray that God will grant us the wisdom to offer the right guidance to the Church in these uncertain times.
I entreat you all to keep praying fervently for the Church, Ghana, and the nations. I am convinced we will come out of this better and stronger.
Rev. Morris Appiah