The following statement was issued today by the Barbados Christian Council on the reopening of churches:
The matter of church reopening is happening in various places around the World and not without its controversies. Different measures are employed from country to country and church to church. The call for reopening of the churches in Barbados is also being touted by some clergy as was noted in Friday’s, May 22, 2020 Nation Newspaper and radio calling programs.
As the Chairman of the Barbados Christian Council, I want to make it absolutely clear that we understand the concerns and desires of our colleagues, but stands resolute that we will be patient and trust the health authorities and Government on reopening our places of worship. While we are anxious for the restrictions to be reversed, as a council, we will not force the issue noting the unpredictability of COVID-19. We take seriously the responsibility to navigate this national tragedy with wisdom, compassion and patience.
In having the true understanding of the church, one will agree with me that the church was never closed. The church is not the building, but the body of believers with a specific purpose and mission. We are called mainly to worship God, which is God centered and expressing love for Him; edification, this is nurturing, building the believers, helping them to grow and mature in their faith with one another; evangelism, reaching out to the unsaved with the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This includes being merciful and compassionate, practically demonstrating the love of Christ, by helping others and seeking to make a real difference in the World while declaring the message of Christ. The church building is therefore not a hideaway from the rest of the society, but a rallying and connecting point, utilizing every opportunity and ways provided to bring healing, hope and purpose beyond the building.
While we are anxious and excited about the possibility of our places of worship reopening, we don’t want to be careless and seek to force the Government to do so knowing the following:
- The unpredictability of the corona virus.
- Fulfilling our mission as a church, fellowship, worship, evangelism and ministry are all to be expressed or carried out by persons with or without a building.
- That provisions will have to be made in terms of restrictions on the size of crowds, social distancing, the wearing of face masks and continued provision for vulnerable members.
The Christian Council is of the view that we have a supreme responsibility to balance the scriptural calls to continue to meet together for worship as stated in Hebrews 10:25, to submit to governing authorities (Romans 13:1-5), to love their neighbors as themselves (Matthew 22:37-39) if it does not contravene God’s will and to put the interests of others ahead of their own (Philippians 2:3-4).
The Government has asked the churches to provide protocols that we would put in place to minimize the possible spread of the virus among our brothers and sisters if the places of worship was to be reopened. This is a move that is critically important if we are to keep our people and nation safe.
The Barbados Christian Council has submitted a list of protocols to the Government and is waiting its decision as it discuss this delicate but sensitive issue. We once again would asked that you be patient in this process as we seek to keep each other safe and balance our lives during these very challenging times.
Major Darrell Wilkinson – Chairman, Barbados Christian Council
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