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WEDNESDAY, 17 MARCH 2020 I For immediate release
The Salvation Army has issued guidelines for its corps (churches) to restrict the number of people attending its services with immediate effect. This follows the declaration by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday 15 March of a national state of disaster for South Africa related to the Coronavirus and its associated disease, Covid-19.
Territorial Commander of The Salvation Army in Southern Africa, Colonel Daniel Kasuso, said the Church fully supports President Ramaphosa’s decision and will follow the direction given from him.
At the same time, the Colonel appealed to all South Africans to stay calm, be positive, and take the necessary precautionary measures.
Institutions operated by The Salvation Army, such as children’s and old age homes, will be a special focus of attention. Restrictions have been put into place to reduce visitors to these places and to monitor residents and employees.
“The measures to deal with Covid-19 that most effect our Salvation Army include the elimination of large gatherings of people. Gatherings, including church services, larger than 100 people are banned with immediate effect. This will impact our Easter meetings as well.
“In divisions that can manage the crowd, for example, varying service times such as 9:00 am and then 11:00 am can be implemented. There can also be more than one location for services which can include the local corps hosting their individual meetings. Other meetings or gatherings to consider are funerals, etc,” he added.
Other instructions from Colonel Kasuso included: “Smaller gatherings must put in place proper measures (hygiene control, hand sanitisers, soap and water, etc.) to protect our people. Large corps (churches) throughout the territory are encouraged to continue meeting but in smaller groups.
“Divisional leaders are to work with the larger corps to ensure these safety provisions are put into place. Social media and other creative ways to reach our soldiers should be put into practice. There are ways to continue to meet as a church, but we must also spread the word of caring for others, especially the vulnerable,” he said.
He added that the international Salvation Army was already responding to the restrictions on movement by cancelling a gathering of all international territorial leaders in Portugal that was due to be held this week.
The Salvation Army is an international movement and evangelical part of the universal Christian Church and has a professional record in rehabilitating and accommodating trafficking trade victims and addressing social injustice in a systematic, measured, proactive and Christian manner through its International Social Justice Commission.
The Southern Africa Territory of The Salvation Army encompasses four countries – South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland – and the island of St Helena. Its officers, soldiers and full-time employees provide their spiritual and community services through approximately 230 corps (churches), societies and outposts, as well as through schools, hospitals, institutions for children, street children, the elderly, men and abused women, and daycare, goodwill, rehabilitation and social centres.
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