Annual passover night prayers return after two years

Christians hold prayers at Namboole Stadium. The prayers have now been moved to Kyambogo Cricket grounds.  PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • The passover comes amid public debate over why the Health ministry allows certain events to go on despite the huge numbers yet cancel or postpone others in the interest of public health.

The annual new year passover night prayers that are normally held every December 31, will resume this year after a two-year break due to Covid-19 pandemic, Joseph Serwadda of Born Again Faith (BAF), an organisation that gathers all member churches, has said.

Speaking at a press conference at his office in Ndeeba, Kampala, yesterday, Pastor Serwadda said the prayers will be physical but the worshipers should observe standard operating procedures (SOPs).

“Every close of the year, we hold the celebration festival to bid farewell to the old year and usher in the new one. For the past 21 years, the festival has persistently attracted congregations of approximately 120,000 people in the Namboole stadium,” he said.

“We shall follow SOPs, which are the same as those issued by the government. However, we also have our own guidelines to make sure people attending are safe. We have security checks of all kind because you might focus on Ebola and yet there are other threats like people with knives, bombs and petty thieves,” he said.

Pastor Serwadda also told journalists that this time, they will use Kyambogo Cricket grounds for the event.

“This year’s passover festival will be held at the Kyambogo University Cricket grounds because Namboole stadium is undergoing renovation and won’t be ready in time for the festival,” Pastor Serwadda said.

Organised under the theme “More than you ask for” this year’s passover, according to Pastor Serwadda, is expected to gather between 30,000 and 40,000 people, a number the pastor said they are prepared to manage amid the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease.

He added that before the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the passover attracted more than120,000 faithful from across the country and beyond.

Pastor Serwadda also asked the government to provide more protective gear to health professionals, and urged traditionalist to leave the treatment of Ebola to modern medicine.

 “The government should also upscale its protection of the health workers so we don’t lose them to the very disease they are trying to battle like what happened in Covid-19,” he said.

 “It’s a scientific disease, not a traditional one, so let the traditionalists rest until Ebola is called by an African name,” the pastor added.
He also asked the government to allow people seek prayers from the church.

“I have not had any incident where someone has come to me to say they have Ebola and need prayers, but should it happen, every pastor knows what to do, we leave Bible schools knowing what to do, and we don’t come to church to learn what to do,” he said.

The passover comes amid public debate over why the Health ministry allows certain events to go on despite the huge numbers yet cancel or postpone others in the interest of public health.

Statistics from the Ministry of Health show no new Ebola infections since November 18.

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