Jamaica: Church goes on shift to reach more worshipers

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Jamaica: Church goes on shift to reach more worshipers
Churchgoers wait their turn to worship at Redeemed United Holy Church of God on Red Hills Road in St Andrew, yesterday.
Churchgoers wait their turn to worship at Redeemed United Holy Church of God on Red Hills Road in St Andrew, yesterday.

(JAMAICA STAR) – The Redeemed United Holy Church of God on Red Hills Road in St Andrew has adopted a shift system to help contain the spread of COVID-19 while they continue to worship. The church now has three shifts for Sunday services with 15-minute breaks between each. The first service goes from 7:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.; the second runs from 10 a.m. to 11:45 p.m.; and the third starts at noon and goes up to 2 p.m.

Clarence Creary, the pastor, told THE STAR that for each service, only 10 members of the congregation are allowed to enter the church.

“We have three services to facilitate different people. One of the services lasts for about two hours. If you come and 10 people are already in the church, you sit outside and wait,” Pastor Creary said.

He added that the members readily supported the changes made to how the church worships.

“They accepted it. Everybody understands. Nobody wants to make things worse, so we have to abide by the rules.”

The Government imposed the no-more-than-10 rule last month as part of a strategy to promote social distancing and to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Sharon Morris, a congregant who sat outside on a bench, says she gave up her space inside the church so someone else could go in.

ABIDE BY THE RULES

“I was in there from morning, so my shift already finished. I was still inside, and somebody come so I had to step out so they could go in. We have to agree on it because we don’t want to be in any trouble. We have to abide by the rules,” Morris related.

Petal Creary, the pastor’s wife, says she supports the decision. “I came here about 11 o’ clock. And this is now a regular thing … come and wait until it is time for the other service so you can go in. We don’t want to be disobedient … we are following what the Government said.”

The Reverend Everton Jackson, director of integral mission for the Baptist World Alliance, noted that pastors are not exempted from the rules of the land.

“Pastors have a responsibility to lead and guide those under their pastoral leadership to obey the laws of the land and follow all restrictions outlined by the Government and health authorities, to prevent the spread of this deadly virus. Pastors have a Christian duty to respect the laws of the land like all other citizens,” the pastor said.

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