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Bishop’s reflection on those who died and encouragement on those who mourn

Revd Isaac Heyns died 1 January 2021
Revd Joy Klimbashe died 2 January 2021

Announcement by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba

Dear People of God

Please find for careful study and implementation an important report and recommendations from the Provincial COVID Advisory Team on the second wave of the coronavirus now being experienced in many parts of our Province.

Key implications of the report:

*    Most urgent, in South Africa, all faith-based institutions have to
be closed by 9pm in the evenings, whether events are held indoors or
outdoors. This means ensuring all Christmas Eve services are finished by 9pm on Thursday.

*    The Advisory Team recommends that services be restricted to 80
worshippers, where that number can be accommodated while observing social distancing of 1,5 metres. Where capacity is smaller, places of worship should not be more than 50% full.

*    In South Africa, the latest regulations in any event limit
attendance of a funeral to 100, observing 1,5m social distancing, or 50% of
capacity where 100 cannot be accommodated. Night vigils and after-funeral
gatherings, such as “after-tears” events, are prohibited.

*    In some churches, mask-wearing, proper sanitising and the
prohibition on handshakes and singing without masks is not being observed.  

*    Where possible, we should return to on-line services and Diocesan
bishops should seriously consider requests from parishes who wish to close
for Christmas due to local conditions where such requests are properly

*    Older people are often those who are most lonely in lockdown, but
those over 60 and have co-morbidities are still the most vulnerable and
ought to avoid returning to services.

*    A vaccine is our best and only defence against the virus. We need to
participate in advocacy efforts to see that access to the vaccine happens on
a just and equitable basis. We need to support education initiatives around
the vaccine and call for vaccination as  a common good.

*    We need to focus anew on addressing food insecurity and other social
needs and also strengthen our response to this is a more intentional way. As
a mark of solidarity and hospitality to honour the birth of the Christ child
in a manger, we should consider donating food, school shoes or a stationery
pack instead of buying presents.
*    Since the Advisory Team met, it has become evident that new
infections are highest in the 15-19 age group, so where possible the number
of servers should also be reduced for the time being.

Please read the accompanying report carefully. I am sure you will all join
me in thanking the Advisory Team for their extensive and detailed work.  
God bless.   
†† Thabo Cape Town

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