Christians of various denominations entered their respective churches today, the first Sunday where churches have been re-opened for worship services after six months of continued shutdown.
Places of worship belonging to different religions have been shut down since the middle of March following the outbreak of coronavirus in the country. The government has allowed for their re-opening from October 1.
There are a number of churches in Shillong city that have not yet conducted services on Sunday as they have not fulfilled all requirements as per the standard operating procedures (SOPs).
The Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians of the Catholic Church at Laitumkhrah conducted as many as five Holy Masses on Sunday.
Many of churches of the Presbyterian Church did not open for conducting services on Sunday while some churches including the Presbyterian Church at Laban held services by observing the health protocols.
At the Laban Presbyterian Church, congregants were asked to enter their names and mobile phone numbers in a special register and also disinfect their hands with sanitiser before entering the church.
The Catholic Church at Mawlai Parish, one of the biggest churches in Mawlai was also opened for Sunday mass as also the Catholic Church at Mawkhar.
According to leaders of the Presbyterian Church, churches would re-open for services from next Sunday after putting in place all requirements related to the protocols set by the government.
Church elder of the Presbyterian Church Mawlai Nonglum, B Marngar said that the decision not to conduct Sunday services today was to help the church prepare all necessary arrangements.
“We will hold services in the church after fulfilling all the requirements as stated in the SOP for the safety of all faithfuls who will attend the services,” Marngar said.
Parish Priest of Mawlai Parish, Fr Marius Thongni informed that the Parish has been able to conduct five Holy Masses today and the church members who attended were selected locality wise.
“We have put all the requirements in places in line with the protocols and those who attended the services were following the protocols. The seating arrangements have been made in such a way to ensure physical distance from one person to another,” Fr Thongni said.
The Parish has also installed hand sanitisers at the entrance of the church, besides doormats mixed with disinfectants so that people can enter the church without taking out their shoes,” he said.
Church members were also asked to write their names and mobile numbers, and dropped it in a box before entering the church.
The Parish has also entrusted volunteers to screen people with thermal scanner before entering the church.