RAWALPINDI: The Christian community of the twin cities observed Good Friday in their houses as churches had arranged prayer services online.
According to the government’s directive regarding Good Friday under the Covid-19 lockdown, no gathering is to be held in any church of Rawalpindi and Islamabad for Saturday night prayers and Easter on Sunday.
Only five people, including the bishop, priest and workers have been allowed to participate in services inside church premises, similar to the standard operating procedures, issued for Friday congregation for Muslims in mosques.
All churches informed the community by sending text messages and pasting notices on their gates. “We informed all community members not to come to church through Whatsapp, Facebook and mobile phone messages as well as through pasting notices on the churches’ gates,” said the organiser of Easter prayers at St Joseph Cathedral Alexander William, while talking to Dawn.
Churches had arranged prayer services online for the community members
Members of the Christian community observed the holy week before Easter Sunday, rituals for which start with Palm Sunday and end on Easter Sunday. Easter is celebrated by Christians all over the world, to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, after he was executed through crucifixion.
The St Joseph Cathedral on Friday arranged online prayer services to observe Good Friday. Archbishop Dr Joseph Arshad requested the community to stay inside their homes and attend services online.
“We are facing the worst time but we had to offer prayer for others welfare. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the churches postponed the prayer gatherings and celebrations of Easter and asked people to stay in their homes to save themselves and others,” he added.
He said: “Jesus taught the lesson to live for the betterment of humanity. There is a dire need to stay at home and adopt all precautionary measures to avoid spread of the virus for the sake of our safety and others.”
The First Presbyterian Church in Raja Bazaar arranged prayers service in the afternoon with limited participants. Staff of the church and families living inside the premises attended the service. “We asked people to attend the prayers through online system. Mostly people offered their prayers at home,” said Pastor Dr Hanook David.
Meanwhile, the district administration and local police also made arrangements so gathering in churches could be avoided. Police personnel were deployed in and around churches.
Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2020