Reverend Benjamin Dube and other pastors who will not be reopening their churches under level 3

Reverend Benjamin Dube ministering
Reverend Benjamin Dube ministering
Benjamin Dube/Instagram

Award-winning gospel musician and reverend Benjamin Dube is among various religious leaders who have opted to keep their places of worship closed.

This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa lifted the ban on religious gatherings during level 3 of the national lockdown.

In his address, Ramaphosa said citizens will now be allowed to go back to their places of worship but with restrictions in place.

The country moved to level 3 on 1 June.

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However, Reverend Dube took to Instagram recently to announce that his church, High Praise Centre, will remain closed.

“Though the government has given churches the opportunity to assemble and be together, under strict conditions, High Praise Centre is not going to open our doors for everyone to come in. We are going to stay closed until level 2, if level 2 allows us to open to everyone. If it is level 1 that allows us to open to everyone, we will consider opening at level 1.”

See his post here:

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This is a Corvid 19 Announcement - Rev.Benjamin Dube

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Pastor Dube said High Praise would reopen when all those who wanted to attend would be allowed to.

“By virtue of the number of congregants we have, we are not able to open for only 50 people maximum. We have taken this decision to keep the church closed until everyone is allowed to come,” he said.

Read more | Religion and Covid-19: local church leaders on their decisions to reopen or remain closed

Gospel musician and pastor of Oasis Church Khaya Mthethwa is also one of the religious leaders who has been vocal about not wanting churches to resume their services under level 3.

“I’m a church boy but this is irresponsible. #cyrilramaphosa,” he tweeted.

See his post here:

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And here are some of the major religious houses that have also opted to remain closed during the lockdown.

Rhema Bible Church

Its leader, Pastor Ray McCauley, said the church is studying the announcement by the president and is not looking to open immediately.

"I am not looking to open immediately, that is me, that is Rhema. What we will do is hold small home groups . . . We will have to work through this very carefully. I think small groups to start with, doing it properly, people coming in properly is the way to go," Pastor McCauley said.

SYNAGOGUES

In a letter to the South African Jewish community this week, chief rabbi Warren Goldstein said synagogues will remain closed until Jewish leaders have considered whether they can reopen safely and comply with safety regulations under level 3.

"There’s a lot at stake – and it’s not something that can or should be rushed," he said.

ZCC

According to eNCA, the Zion Christian Church, one of Africa’s largest churches with almost 4 million members, will remain closed during level 3. It is reported that the church’s leader, His Grace Bishop Barnabas Lekganyan,e said in a statement that resuming services was not yet safe and that the closure would remain until further notice.