Tobago religious leaders happy for full church services

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Pastor Toney Mapp –

Tobago’s religious leaders insist that covid19 health protocols will remain in place at their respective places of worship even though they have been given clearance to return to full-length services.

In a statement in the House of Representatives on Friday, the Prime Minister announced a further easing of covid19 restrictions across several sectors.

Dr Rowley said the 90-minute time restriction for religious services would be lifted as well as the cap on the number of people allowed for those services.

But he said mask-wearing will continue to be required.

President of the Tobago Mission of Seventh-Day Adventists Toney Mapp welcomed the opportunity to full-length services.

“The church has always had its pattern of worshipping but the previous scenario curtailed that in many ways,” he told Newsday.

“While the church is clear in its mind that it would never go back to what it used to know and much of its programmes may still be conducted online, the church is also very happy for the opportunity to be able to congregate once more.”

Mapp added, “Bearing that in mind, however, we must also still be cautious about this freedom in relation to being able to come together and worship. It must not be so loosely conducted so as to imprison us subsequently.”

He said the necessary guidelines and reminders will be sent out to the churches “so that they can still act from a place of wisdom and caution as they conduct their affairs and worship the God that they love.”

Mapp said people should use this period as a time to heal.

“We, as a people in our country, over the period, had a lot of reason to lay blame, in some cases, both in and out of the church, castigate one another on the basis of their choices as individuals.”

He added, “We have some healing to do, in some ways, as a people, to make sure that we understand that a lot of these things about life is bigger than our understanding and, therefore, we should always relate to people and treat people in a fashion that, just in case it turns out that they are right and you are wrong, how you want them to relate to you.

“Therefore, I trust that where healing is appropriate and necessary and needed it will happen as part of this new space and venture as we step into it. That is what I am prayerful about.”