Christian group asks members to halt worship services

THE Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) on Friday, March 13, urged its members to suspend Sunday worship services for at least one month.

In a statement, PCEC National Director Noel Pantoja said this is in line with the recommendations of the Department of Health (DOH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to avoid organizing large gatherings and going to large crowds.

"This might mean temporarily cancelling our worship gatherings, camps and retreats, regular fellowships, and outreach ministries," said Pantoja. ]

"We, at PCEC, recommend, upon the discretion of our church leaders, cancelling Sunday worship services for as long as one month," he added.

The PCEC is an umbrella group of over 70 Christian denominations and more than 400 congregations, NGOs and Christian organizations.

Pantoja called on members to look for alternative ways to evangelize.

"There are other avenues of meeting, counseling, fellowshipping, and being edified apart from being physically present together, and these alternatives must be explored and utilized in the interim," he said.

"The church must become a part of the solution, and not be another problem," added Pantoja.

Pantoja said the cancellation of worship gatherings should not be taken as them lacking in faith or commitment, but rather their prudence in the face of facts.

"We must remember that viral contamination has massive effects both personally and communally... The church must participate in this noble effort. By not intentionally gathering people, we will help minimize or stop the spread of the virus," said the PCEC head. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)