Locals at New Market Colony in Kohima during the ‘rooftop service’ on Sunday  Credit: EastMojo image

Kohima: As churches in Nagaland remain closed due to the nationwide lockdown amid COVID-19 pandemic, locals from Kohima’s New Market Colony while acing the concept of social distancing managed to bring everyone together to observe Sunday service from their respective rooftops, balconies, windows and doors.

With the sound of a church bell echoing across the hill town, residents of the area, irrespective of church denominations, gathered on rooftops and started singing and praising together.

A brainchild of the New Market Youth Organization, the Sunday rooftop service began on Easter Sunday and will continue till the churches remain closed. Speaking with EastMojo, the organisation’s president, Kelhoumedo Andrew Tepa, said that it was initially planned for Easter Sunday in order to celebrate the “resurrection of Christ”. “On popular demand, we have decided to continue the short Sunday service at 7 am from our rooftops till the lockdown ends,” he said.

Andrew said that in an attempt to bring more liveliness in the locality, the short service was planned so that residents, irrespective of the church denomination, may come together at least once a week to pray together. With two traditional microphone speakers attached at opposite corners of one tall residential building in the area, few locals led the service from the rooftop while others joined from their respective rooftops.

In a video shared with EastMojo on Sunday, elderly women who participated in the service were seen draped in traditional shawl as they celebrated the Sunday service. With nearly 500 households in the locality, the locals maintained social distancing even on the rooftops and were seen wearing masks.

Andrew recalled how non Christians also stood outside their doors and on the rooftops during the prayer service. “Not sure if they actually participated, but they were also part of it which was a nice thing to see,” he added. Recently, EastMojo also spotted the area youths distributing drinking water supply to its residents.

Drinking water facilities being offered among the residents of the area

Meanwhile, several churches in Nagaland has switched to digital live streaming of the Sunday services, enabling locals to praise together from the comfort of their homes.

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