Christian Churches Not Halting Services, Hindus Told To Stop Visiting Temples

The Catholic Church has decided to suspend all weekend and weekday public Masses in peninsular Malaysia from March 14 to March 29.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 — Protestant churches in the peninsular are not planning to suspend religious services yet over the coronavirus pandemic, despite the Catholic Church doing so until the end of the month.

Free Malaysia Today (FMT) quoted the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF) as saying that NECF churches would continue holding services while assessing the situation.

“It all depends on how bad the situation is. If it is extremely bad, then yes (we will suspend services),” NECF secretary-general Rev Andy Chi told FMT, adding that his church will abide by the Health Ministry’s advice.

He noted that most NECF churches have not reduced their activities, even as the pandemic forces them to “tweak” some rituals so that there is less direct contact among congregants.

Rev Andy said the NECF council has recommended precautionary measures for its measures, besides providing hand sanitisers at most NECF churches and urging the sick to stay at home.

The Catholic Church yesterday said it will suspend all weekend and weekday public Masses in peninsular Malaysia from March 14 to March 29, with its weekend religious service to be broadcast instead in various major languages.

The Catholic Bishops of Peninsular Malaysia also cancelled all catechism classes, programmes and activities during the same period, besides suspending all meetings, gatherings, formations, RCIA sessions (classes for adults looking to convert to Catholicism), fellowships, and events in church.

De Facto Religious Affairs Minister Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri announced that Friday prayers today in the Federal Territories would continue as usual, albeit with shortened sermons, but Perlis has cancelled Friday prayers today.

The Malaysian Hindu Sangam, meanwhile, urged Hindus to avoid places of worship to minimise the risk of spreading Covid-19, which has affected 158 people in the country so far.

FMT quoted Hindu Sangam president R.S. Mohan Shan as cautioning devotees intending to visit temples, especially during mass events such as a kumbhabhisekam (temple consecration), against doing so.

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