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Churches resort to online sermons as faithful stay away

Sunday March 29 2020

 St Joseph The Workers Catholic Parish Churc

Children walk past St Joseph The Workers Catholic Parish Church in Racetrack Estate in Nakuru Town on Sunday, March 29, 2020. PHOTO | FRANCIS MUREITHI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Francis Mureithi
By Francis Mureithi
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Unlike last week when some churches defied a government directive and held services, the case was different this Sunday.

There was a deafening silence in most of the churches in Nakuru town as the gates remained closed. Only guards kept watch over the buildings as the reality of Covid-19 dawned on worshippers.

PRAYERS SUSPENDED

Even mosques were not spared as their gates remained closed after the usual early morning prayers were suspended.

There were no gospel songs that are usually heard in most churches on Sunday morning. 

The church bell that calls faithful to attend mass at St Joseph The Worker Catholic Church in Racetrack Estate did not ring for the first time in 29 years.

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“I will miss the rich sermons of my parish priest Fr Evanson Njogu who always refers to himself as a prophet,” said Ms Florence Muthoni.

“The first service choir at St Joseph The Worker is one of the best in the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru and I can’t believe that this Sunday I will not enjoy their beautiful hymns,” said Mr Rodgers Ogutu.

CHURCH BELL

“I have always relied on the church bell every Sunday to start my day. Today I missed the bell and woke up late,” said Mr Henry Matoke.

“Are these the end times? I am still trying to come to terms with the reality that I am not attending mass,” said Ms Teresa Njeri, a member of St Joseph The Worker Church at Racetrack.

The church has three masses every Sunday spread from 6.45am to 1pm.

Nakuru’s busiest street, Kanu Street, was deserted as churches remained shut.

Elburgon Parish PCEA Church in Nakuru County on
Elburgon Parish PCEA Church in Nakuru County on March 29, 2020. PHOTO | JOHN NJOROGE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Subukia, Fr Peter Mose, in his online sermon to the faithful, said that the coronavirus is colonising the world.

“We need to return to God in this period of isolation and trust in Him. God gives us full redemption not just from this current coronavirus, but from any spiritual or physical evil or death,” said Fr Mose.

PREVENT INFECTION

The priest urged Kenyans to maintain high levels of hygiene to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

For some of the churches such as PCEA Wema Parish in Nakuru East, hundreds of faithful followed the Sunday sermons online.

“We must obey government directives and observe hygiene. The word of God must continue because there is power in prayers and, even as we fight the coronavirus through other means, we must persistently seek divine intervention,” said PCEA Wema Parish Minister Pauline Kanuthu.

But it was a sad day for some of the guards who normally have a windfall on Sunday in some of the churches.

“Sunday is one of the days I earn an extra coin as worshippers offer me cash gifts after the service. I just hope this closure of churches will not take long,” said a guard at a local church.

Matatu owners also said they were counting losses due to the reduced number of worshippers using their vehicles.

“On Sunday, I earn more than any other day but today I have been forced to ground my matatu,” said a matatu driver on Nakuru’s Kanu Street.