Kuwaiti churches, like mosques, eager to resume normal activities
By Ben Garcia
KUWAIT: The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs has officially asked the Ministry of Health to allow a return to normal activities in mosques, including allowing worshipers to be closer to each other during prayers. Mosques have been allowed to resume sermons and classes, but still adhere to social distancing guidelines during congregational prayers.
Churches in Kuwait are also eager to resume normal worship services. There are around 3.1 million foreign residents living in Kuwait, and according to the Public Authority for Civil Information, around 26% of them are Christians. There are eight officially registered and licensed churches in the country: National Evangelical Church of Kuwait, Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic, Coptic Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Anglican, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“We have not changed the protocols because we have not yet received a new note from the Awqaf ministry regarding the changes,” said Mariam Abdullah, executive secretary of the Evangelical National Church of Kuwait. “Until the new memo is released, we will continue to follow the old rules,” Abdullah said. “We are operating under the authorization and license of the Ministry of Awqaf, so any change in our operations must come from them,” she said.
Churches reopened to worshipers in July 2020 after several months of closure due to the pandemic. “Since last year, we have been operating at 30% of our capacity and the chairs are arranged more than a meter from each other. We continue to strictly enforce this distancing. Devotees under the age of 15 are not allowed to attend church. They can pray at home since we have virtual worship services, ”Abdullah said.
“We are awaiting further instructions issued by the Ministry of Awqaf. We will strictly submit to their wise decision, ”she added. Abdullah said hand disinfection and the wearing of masks are still essential, and people exposed to COVID-19 can only attend after 14 days of quarantine.