GOVERNMENT has with immediate effect suspended the holding of Church services in schools.
A large number of evangelical church services across the country are conducted in government schools.
According to a letter addressed to all head teachers in Ndola and signed by District Education Board Secretary Crispin Chilufya, the government wants to study the coronavirus situation since schools have been reopened.
“A number of issues pertaining to Church gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic have arisen and led to misunderstandings among stakeholders in some cases. One such issue is the use of classrooms for Church services,” stated Chilufya. “After holding a number of consultative meetings, the Ministry of [National] Guidance and Religious Affairs has advised that using classrooms for Church services and prayer has been suspended with immediate effect. This is to allow government to study and monitor the situation now that schools have reopened.”
But the Pastors Fellowship Northern Zone advisory council chairperson David Ng’ona has asked the Ndola City Council to consider giving churches plots.
He said COVID-19 had affected half of the churches in Chifubu township, who have now been banned from meeting in schools.
Bishop Ng’ona said the Ndola City Council should consider waiving some restrictions because most big Pentecostal churches started from schools and later built structures.
He said plots for churches should be made available soon and that before they could build their own structures, the council should allow them to congregate in temporary ones.
Ndola City Council public relations manager Rebecca Mushota said the local authority had worked out a layout plan for the plots on which churches would be built.
Meanwhile, Ndola mayor Amon Chisenga and town clerk Cosmas Chalusa respectively made the assurance at a meeting with the Ndola Pastors Fellowship at Reformed Church in Zambia, Chifubu Congregation.
The Pastors Fellowship also used the occasion to make a follow-up on the progress made towards making land available to construct churches after some of the them were affected by the government’s suspension of church meetings in schools.
“It is a serious and urgent concern for us and we do not delight in the current situation that you are not meeting because churches are important as they shape the nation,” said Chisenga.