Archbishop of Church of Uganda Samuel Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu has asked Christians to stop taking bodies for prayers inside church because it creates a risk of spreading Covid-19, especially if the deceased had the undetected virus.
The Archbishop made the call while delivering his Christmas Day message at All Saints Cathedral Nakasero in Kampala on Friday.
Archbishop Kaziimba said relatives of the deceased whose bodies are not taken to church should not worry that their loved ones have departed without being prayed for.
He said the bereaved families can bring a portrait to church to represent the deceased, and it will be prayed for.
“We have lost many dear ones, we send our condolences and prayers, and that is why we need to have few and short services. Sometimes, we do not bring the casket inside because you never know. Even if you bring a portrait, that is enough it is the same person,” Archbishop Kaziimba said.
He said a portrait of the deceased person is acceptable inside church because diseases have become problematic, adding that Christians must be extra diligent in case the deceased died of undetected Covid-19.
“It is about faith. Faith sees the invisible, believes in the impossible and receives the incredible. It has been a unique year, everything has been unusual and you should not complain of not having achieved anything this year because someone who achieved much more is no more and has gone to be with the Lord,” he said.
Mr Ivan Naijuka, the spokesperson All Saints Church Nakasero, said they stopped bodies of confirmed Covid-19 victims from being brought inside church.
He said the church management only allows a few family members, relatives and friends to bring a photograph of the deceased, which is prayed for before they travel for burial.
Archbishop Kaziimba castigated Christians for commercialising Christmas. He said when Jesus was born, he was delivered in a manger and the shepherd celebrated the good news of his birth with music unlike today where Christians go to church leaving at home fridges stocked with alcohol.