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Anglican Church in Uganda Bans Dead Bodies in Church

Anglican Church in Uganda Bans Dead Bodies in Church

By Godfrey Olukya
VOL African correspondent
January 10, 2021

The Anglican Church in Uganda has banned with immediate effect, taking dead bodies to Church for funeral prayers.

Authorities in the Anglican Church sited the threat of COVID-19 as the reason why the Church has stopped the practice.

The ban was announced by the Anglican Archbishop in Uganda, the Most Rev. Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu, who also cautioned Ugandans against complacency, saying the pandemic is real with infections sharply increasing in the last couple of months.

In his message to Anglicans he said, "We need to guard ourselves against COVID-19. It is unfortunate that some people think that COVID19 does not exist and ignore ministry of health guidelines against the disease.''

In his message Archbishop Kaziimba sent condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones through COVID-19.

According to Sight magazine, the Archbishop's decision to ban the taking of bodies to church during funeral prayers has been welcomed by religious leaders from other denominations.

Monsignor Charles Kasibante, Roman Catholic Vicar General of Kampala Diocese, described the decision as "a right step in the right direction". He said that the Catholic Church in Uganda only forbids entry into churches of bodies of people who have succumbed to COVID-19. He noted that despite the challenges that COVID-19 poses, funeral prayers are still critical for both the dead and living, arguing that they are a sign of respect to human life.

"The prayers show that in both joy and grief, we are with the Lord and that there is life after resurrection. That's what gives us hope being around the dead person's body," he said.

Ivan Naijuka, a spokesperson for All Saints Church, said that even before the Archbishop made his pronouncement, church officials were treading cautiously in allowing bodies into the church during prayers.

"Whenever relatives of the deceased came to book for funeral prayers, the first question we would ask was the cause of the death and if it was COVID-19, if so we wouldn't allow the bodies inside," he said.

Lay leader Samuel Musoke of Saint James Church in Kampala said, "The Archbishop is right. It is too risky to let dead bodies in churches during this time of COVID-19."


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