A section of Church leaders in Thika have vowed to continue shutting down their churches until the government relaxes the age limit measures, arguing they cannot entrust the youth with stewardship of places of worship.
They said the youth lacked leadership qualities to run the church and added if allowed, they would cripple church operations.
This comes after the government directed that all church congregants be above 13 years and below 58, an age limit which most of the pastors have surpassed.
Speaking during a thanksgiving prayer meeting attended by Thika MP, Patrick Wainaina at Mugumo-ini Primary School in Thika town, the clerics said as founders of the churches, leaving their operations to the youth is not an option.
Seventy-year-old Rev. Joseph Mutunga of New Life church in Kiganjo village said as elders and founders of their churches, they are the custodians of the doctrines and vision of their churches and added it was wrong to prohibit them from attending church services.
Rev Mutunga said they rather wait for normalcy to resume when all members will be allowed to attend than rush into opening and affect operations.
He added most of his church committee members who are the backbone of the church are elderly hence have been automatically excluded from attending religious services.
“The age limit proposal will not only cripple out church operations, but will also erode the gains we as church leaders have made in offering leadership. To avert this, the government should relax the restrictive measures,” said Rev. Mutunga.
Others, including Rev. Simon Githiora of Makongeni Presbyterian church and Francis Kilango of Springs of Life Apostolic Ministries wondered why age restrictions were only slapped on church congregations.
“It beats common sense why elderly persons should be barred from attending church service yet they are not restricted from going to bars, supermarkets and other public places,” said Kilango.
The Inter-Religious Faith Council that was mandated to formulate guidelines for reopening of places of worship also imposed a limit on the number to attend worship to 100. It also locked out children under the age of 13 years.
The Thika clerics also called for inclusion of all church members so long as there will be observance of social distancing, washing of hands, wearing of masks and avoidance of greetings.
They said exemption of children from services will set the stage for deterioration of societal norms and erosion of morals among the youth.
Wainaina promised to donate hand-washing units to all churches in the constituency as a way of supporting the houses of worship resume operations.
The MP urged churches to adopt innovations such as disinfection booths to keep away the deadly virus and protect members.
By Muoki Charles