Lets Talk About It

60 minutes may save your life

If you are a leader in a church – a pastor, priest, elder, departmental leader, usher, choir member, etc. – it is important that you understand why the government is limiting church services to one hour, or groups to not more than 30 and church attendance to not more than one-third of the capacity. Understanding the reason is important because there are many people who are spreading heresy, false prophetic and spiritual interpretations. They are misleading and crippling many.

I am saddened at how so many religious leaders are “spiritualizing” an actual deadly health problem – COVID-19. They are spreading lies about faith and Jesus. Some are saying if you are on God’s side and pray, He will protect you from COVID-19. Dear reader, faith does not obliterate common sense. If faith alone can protect one from COVID-19, I wonder why one would wash hands after working in the dirt before they eat food?

Why then should church services be limited to 60 minutes? Here is the simple reason – people who have the COVID-19 virus can spread the virus through the air when it comes out of the nostrils and mouth. This is one reason to wear the mask – to reduce the release of the virus in the air. We were told that if one stands closely to someone infected with the virus, it can impact the person within 15 minutes. I understand that the new Delta variant of the COVID-19 can be spread within one minute. That’s deadly serious.

The more people in a closed room – even in a large, closed room – the more concentrated the virus in the air. Therefore, it is best to limit the time a group is in an enclosed environment, even when using all the precautions. One of the churches I visit virtually during this time is the Pioneer Memorial Church on the campus of Andrews University, Michigan, USA. Up until two weeks ago, they did not allow the congregation to sing during the hymns. Only the praise team would sing while standing on the platform more than six feet apart. They would ask the congregation to hum along and not open their mouths, although their masks were on. The church seats 2,000 and only 200 or so are normally present during COVID-19, sitting at least six feet apart. I wonder why we are singing in our churches in The Bahamas.

It is important to note also that the restriction in the number of the attendees is not just the recommendation of the government of The Bahamas, but also the World Health Organization (WHO) of the United Nations that are carried out around the world. I have contacts with professionals in many countries. I have made an effort to contact them all and learned that their churches in their countries are doing the same thing. Because they know it makes sense and it saves lives.

To understand what other countries are doing, here are three quotes. This quote is from COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Places of Worship and Providers of Religious Services and Cultural Ceremonies (California Government), “Even with adherence to physical distancing, convening in a congregational setting of multiple different households to practice a personal faith carries a relatively higher risk for widespread transmission of the COVID-19 virus, and may result in increased rates of infection, hospitalization, and death, especially among more vulnerable populations. In particular, activities such as singing and chanting negate the risk reduction achieved through six feet of physical distancing.”

Here is another quote from Toronto Canada Public Health Guidelines: Vocalists, musicians and performers: Indoor group singing, dancing and use of wind instruments have been linked to numerous outbreaks in multiple countries. Avoid risks by considering alternative options. Limit the number of performers or vocalists. Avoid group or congregational singing. Use pre-recorded music (audio/video), or use alternative musical instruments. Performers must maintain at least two meters’ distance from any spectators or be separated by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier. Clean and disinfect barriers after each use. All performers should stand at least two meters apart from other performers and conductor. Length of instruments should be accounted for when determining physical distancing.

Here is a quote from Ghana, Africa: “On Sunday, July 26, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo announced the further easing of several measures that were previously introduced to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. From Saturday, August 1, restrictions on the number of worshipers in churches and mosques will be lifted, and worship time will be extended to two hours. There will also be an easing of limitations on the number of passengers on public transport and domestic flights, and tourist centers and open-air drinking spots will be allowed to reopen. It remains mandatory to wear face masks in public spaces. Ghana’s air, land, and sea borders remain closed indefinitely.”

Please do not listen to the prophetic doomsters and heretical ideas that it is all about the mark of the beast and violation of civil rights or infringing upon one’s freedom. It is imperative to understand that the mark of the beast in Revelation is not a vaccine. It is about worship or allegiance. It will be the enforcement of a day of worship by a government under the influence of religious powers. This is not happening right now.

When it comes to freedom and rights, we are free to drive 100 miles per hour (mph) on the highway – the problem is, if we do, the risk of killing ourselves or someone else is too great, so one has to stick to the law. I have to give up my “right” to drive 100 mph for the safety of others.

It is said, my rights end when it comes to your safety. Therefore, the wearing of masks, limited attendees at a gathering/service, and limited length of meetings are wise and common sense approaches to reducing the spread of the virus.

These “restrictions” may be intruding upon your rights and freedoms now in order to save your life and those around you. Thus, because of one’s adherence to the laws now, those rights and freedoms will return sometime in the future. Be patient. Be obedient to the laws. Sixty minutes may save your life.

 • Barrington Brennen is a marriage and family therapist. Send your questions or comments to question@soencouragement.org, call 242-327-1980 or visit www.soencouragement.org.

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