You may come to church from June 1, provided that you are part of the group of 50 people, can sit 1.5 m from the person next to you, wear your mask and not participate in praise.
This is true of the regulations for churches published in the Government Gazette on Friday .
The details of everyone who wants to go to church must be recorded in a register and members must undergo screening tests before they can enter the building.
“Religious organizations should call services through virtual platforms whenever possible,” the regulations say.
The distance between people with masks is at least 1.5 m. However, where a religious practice does not allow the wearing of masks (such as when a pastor preaches), the distance between the minister and the next person must be 2.5 m.
Praise is forbidden and music is limited to solo performances or recordings.
The church must be disinfected from corner to side before and after worship services and enough disinfectants should be available at the doors.
Any ritual that requires personal contact, as well as gatherings such as tea after church, are in accordance with the regulations of the course.
Everyone over the age of 60 and those with underlying conditions should rather worship from home.
NG Church (about 900 000 members)
Dr. Gustav Claassen, general secretary of the Dutch Reformed Church, says every independent congregation can decide on the reopening.
The DRC, by way of Claassen, has indicated, among other things, that it can re-confirm marriages (in line with the regulations) as the Department of Home Affairs will register marriages from 1 June.
According to recommendations to congregations, members’ fever will be measured at the doors.
Sacrifices of thanksgiving in envelopes can be given at the doors when members leave the church.
Sunday school and other church meetings are not allowed at first and the use of the Lord’s Supper, baptism, home church and home visitation is discouraged.
Congregations with more venues can offer different services at the same time as long as they comply with the regulations.
The Dutch Reformed Church advises members and teachers with underlying illnesses to come to the church building.
Reformed Church (about 90,000 members)
According to Rev. Cassie Aucamp, chair: Deputies of the Reformed Churches in South Africa, this church is organized in such a way that congregations can at least decide for themselves whether or not to reopen their churches. However, congregations received guidelines.
“We have placed great emphasis on the fact that congregations should not choose shortcuts here. The responsibility rests with us and it’s a big responsibility. ”
The Doppers may hold more than one worship service per Sunday to accommodate members, but the elderly are a special focus.
“During confinement, they are the people we could not reach electronically and the need for a church is great. We will have to make a plan to accommodate older people specially, ”he said.
Furthermore, babies will be baptized with water containing a disinfectant. As for the Lord’s Supper, they will have to use chalices for the next while instead of the common cup.
Reformers (63 000 to 80 000 members)
According to dr. Wouter van Wyk, secretary of the Dutch Reformed Church of Africa, is able to decide for each congregation whether they see a chance to resume their worship services.
In a circular, the commission of the general church meeting called for congregations to appoint a task team to ensure compliance with the regulations.
How does one determine which 50 people may attend services? It varies from congregation to congregation, but “a possibility is to divide the wards or divide members alphabetically,” Van Wyk said.
“Because the latest regulations prohibit rituals that require physical contact, pastors should not serve the sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion.”
VG Church (between 1.2 and 1.3 million members)
According to a statement by the United Reformed Church of Southern Africa (URCSA) General Synod, each church council can decide for itself whether it wants to open its church doors.
“But they are advised not to do so until they are unable to comply with official regulations,” Prof. Christina Landman, the General Synod’s actuary, said.
Members and pastors over 60 should preferably not attend services, the URCSA asks.
New Apostolic Church South Africa (over 300,000 members)
Bishop Neville Barron, spokesman for the church, says church leaders are still meeting before they will finally decide to reopen the churches. “The reopening of religious rallies requires careful planning and takes into account the demographics of the church in all the provinces.”
The outcome of consultations will be announced to members on June 7.
Worship services are currently being broadcast on the New Apostolic Church television channel (NACTV).
Although singing and music are a major focus for the NAC, if it reopens, this church will adhere to the measure of no praise “because we understand the risk of distribution associated with singing,” Barron says.
As far as sacraments are concerned, NAC-SA is at this stage considering suspending all “person-to-person contact” to protect its members.
Roman Catholic Church
The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference said in a statement that the church is grateful for the opportunity to continue its activities again within limits.
However, priests and parishes who believe they cannot meet state requirements can remain closed.
According to the statement, singing and contact rituals (such as greeting, feet washing, laying hands and anointing) will have to wait for the first time.
Priests must disinfect their hands and wear gloves for Holy Communion.