For the past several months, most churches in China have not been able to hold in-person services due to concerns over COVID-19. However, some churches in China have recently begun to reopen. This article from China Christian Daily describes the reopening process for some Three-Self churches. The image above is of an open church door in Shanghai in 2014.
Churches in Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Chongqing Gradually Reopen
Churches in Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Chongqing and other places will resume their services on the premise of their strict implementation of procedures for pandemic prevention and control.
On May 31, the Zhejiang Provincial China Christian Council and Three-Self Patriotic Movement (CCC & TSPM) stated in the Notice on Pandemic Prevention and Control after the Orderly Opening of Christian Venues that Christian activities that meet the conditions for pandemic prevention and control will be restored in an orderly manner.
At the same time, churches will be required to do the following: teach a lesson on patriotism; conduct a risk assessment; organize a safety inspection; implement a series of prevention and control measures; formulate a strict emergency plan.
The paper also says that local CCC & TSPMs in Zhejiang should lead the churches to encourage brothers and sisters to continue praying for the country, and the people fighting the pandemic in the world, and pray for God to bless all the brothers and sisters in the church that “all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul” (3 John 1:2).
On the afternoon of receiving the official notice from the Zhejiang CCC & TSPM, Ningbo Centennial Church held an emergency meeting and decided to resume onsite worship on June 7. Sunday services will be reduced from four to three in order to control the number of participants and avoid crowding. Other gatherings will be still temporarily suspended.
Every attendee must accept and cooperate with the standardized testing procedures, cooperate with instructions from church staff, and keep a distance from others when they are seated. When the gathering is over, departure procedures must be strictly observed. After the meeting, people should leave the church quickly, and not gather in the church to chat.
In addition, believers with symptoms such as fever, fatigue, and respiratory problems cannot come to the church and should actively seek medical treatment. Old and weak elders and children should not come to the service for the time being. The church has an emergency temporary isolation room in case of an emergency.
On May 29, the Jiangsu Provincial People’s Religious Affairs Bureau issued the Notice on Convening the Work Deployment Meeting for the Orderly Restoration and Opening of Religious Activity Places and held a meeting to discuss the reopening of religious activities on May 30.
On June 1, Chongqing Christian Holy Grace Church was informed that the church could resume onsite worship on June 7.
The church requires that any member with suspicious symptoms such as cold, fever, fatigue, dry cough, etc. not come to the church for the time being and actively seek medical treatment. All participants will be required to wear masks, register their personal information, take their temperature, sit one meter apart from others, pay attention to personal hygiene, and report in a timely manner physical discomfort, etc.
It also recommends that believers who are close to the church and can conveniently attend the evening worship instead should do so, so as to reduce the pressure of the number of people attending the first and second daytime church services.
Original Article: Churches in Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Chongqing Gradually Reopen by China Christian Daily.
Edited and reposted with permission.
Image credit: hjw223 via Flickr.
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