Sarawak churches postponing reopening to next week

File pic of St Joseph Cathedral in Kuching.

KUCHING: Churches in Sarawak will only open its doors to worshippers next Sunday, although they have been permitted to do so beginning tomorrow.

Bishop of the Anglican Church for Sarawak and Brunei, Reverend Datuk Danald Jute said the decision was made as the church authorities felt that the reopening of places of worship must be carried out with caution to safeguard the health and safety of its members.

“Since the COVID-19 is still very much around, we don’t everyone rushing in after not being able to attend church services for the past 15 weeks,” he told Bernama when met at the Saint Thomas Cathedral here today.

He said the proper preparation involved all aspects as the Anglican Church is a sacramental church which would definitely include movements and physical connection in performing the rites.

“We want to make sure that the churches are not only ready, but we have a system in place whereby all department heads supervising worshippers and churches must ensure that the proper procedures are adhered to strictly,” he said.

Danald said for a start, the church would only allow 100 members to attend service on June 28 although the maximum permissible number is 250, as stated in the guidelines for the reopening of non-Muslim places of worship.

He said this would ease the church to manage the worshippers as well as give the volunteers the opportunity to practice and adapt to the number of attendees during every prayer ceremony.

“We advise members to come prepared wearing a face mask and to contact the church administration in advance to register their attendance,” he said.

As of today, 35 of the 45 Anglican churches in Sarawak have submitted their reopening notice.

“We expect all churches to submit their notification form to us by Monday and we will hand over the forms to the Unit for Other Religions (UNIFOR) on Thursday (June 25),” he said.