One of the groups most affected by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is the religious community.
Persons belonging to various religious organizations in the country – Christians, Hindus and Muslims and others – have all had to, initially, abide by the 10-person maximum limit for social gatherings. That rule was then replaced by “stay at home” policy that will be implemented from midnight on Sunday.
For some religious leaders, the ban has caused them to use technology to host online service for their members.
For many persons from the Spiritual Baptist Community, a group that has at least 200,000 members in Trinidad and Tobago alone, the new rule means that they will not be able to commemorate Spiritual Baptist/Shouter Liberation Day which is celebrated on March 30, annually.
Declared in 1995, the community of spiritual baptists come together on this public holiday day to commemorates the repeal on 30 March 1951 of the 1917 Shouter Prohibition Ordinance that prohibited the activities of the Shouter or Spiritual Baptist Faith.
Usually, members from the community walk though the streets singing songs and performing the rituals of their religion. But this year, many have chosen to heed the Government’s call to stay indoors.
Archbishop Steven Wilson from the Mt. Hope Spiritual Baptist Church said that his congregation will not have service or celebrate on Monday.
“(We have) no church service until that whole thing clears up. We will only assemble when that passes. We not doing anything at all.”
It seems that other churches have decided to follow suit.
The Lion of Judah Spiritual Baptist Church said all service functions or plans made have been postponed until further notice.
Additionally, Bishop Leon William John who is the elder at the West Indian United Spiritual Baptist Sacred Order said his church has had to postpone its celebrations, in keeping with the plea made by the Prime Minister and for the safety of the people of TT.
John said the Baptist community is trying to determine if the celebrations could be postponed for a later time during the year or celebrated next year.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley will host a National Day of Prayer from 8:30a.m. on Sunday. The programme will be broadcast live on all major TV networks such as TTT, TV6 and CNC, Synergy TV, IETV, and radio stations Power 102, Heartbeat 104.1fm, Street 91.9 f.m, Next 99.1, Talk City 91.1 and Sweet 100fm.
Persons can also stream it on Facebook at TTT Live Online.