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Communities, neighborhoods start praying at homes

Rubaga Cathedral. All churches remain closed.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Christians have resorted to small prayer groups following the nationwide closure of churches because of the Covid19 pandemic.

Prayers houses have remained under lock and key since March 18th when President, Yoweri Museveni banned congregational prayers and all forms of social gatherings to contain the spread of Covid19.

Several Christians resorted to praying via television, radio, social media platforms and other remote collaboration tools shortly after the ban came into force.

However, as time went by several religious leaders and faithfuls started pushing government to lift the suspension in congregational prayers, saying they need to pray for God’s intercession.

Their pleas haven’t yielded results. Now, several Christian families have resorted to congregating in small numbers. The family members engage in praise and worship under the guidance of a family member.

Eng. Moses Wakulera, a resident of Kigoowa suburb in Kampala is one of those who hold Sunday services in their homes.

He says that they started congregating as a family in their sitting room but as time went by a few neighbors asked to join them.

Wakulera notes that with more people coming, they moved to the compound where they can observe physical distancing thus forming up a ‘min-church’ for the last one and half month.

Our reporter visited Wakulera’s family this Sunday where he found people from at least four families praying in the compound. The eldest daughter led the worship session while the mother stood in as the day’s preacher.

Elijah Kenneth Baingere, Wakulera’s son notes that praying on television and radio looked far fetched. He says some of his siblings would interrupt the prayer session and tune into their favorite channels.
Eng. Wakulera also adds that the idea of praying on TV was not so practical since at times they would suffer power cuts or the TV signal could be off, which means they could miss prayers.

Diana Akello, one of the neighbors that congregate at Wakulera’s home, says praying from home doesn’t have the same appeal for everyone yet worship is an essential part of life.

She however, notes that although she can’t congregate with the masses at her church due to the risk of contracting COVID-19, she felt praying with her neighbors could bridge the gap.

Although they have created ‘min-churches’, they are still aware of the Covid19 pandemic. She explains that before one is allowed in, they must wear a mask and also sanitize their hands.

Francis Kato, a resident of Nsumbi in Wakiso Sub-county also holds similar prayers at his home with a few neighbors and friends. Kato says that he sees no harm for him to gather with his neighbors to pray.

“We are in some community. Our children play together and none of us is sick. So we have decided to congregate every Sunday and praise the lord,” Kato stressed before asking the government to reopen churches.

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