Some NZ churches opting to stay online until 2022

Ryan Boswell
Source: 1News

Heading to church might not be an option for some this Christmas.

Christian leaders are restricting those who can physically attend, pray and worship due to the Covid pandemic, even though the rules say otherwise.

Jonathan Dove is a senior pastor at Auckland’s Grace City, and told 1News that services are off this holiday season.

He said even though the centre can host 1000 people, it’s decided not to meet in person until at least February.

“We’re choosing to stay online providing online services and encouraging people to meet in homes.

“I'll be home for Christmas that famous song we sing, certainly takes on a whole new meaning this year,” said Dove

Reverend Taumafai Komiti from Grey Lynn Samoan Methodist Church said welcoming worshippers back straight away while in red was premature.

“Let’s give us this whole week to be on the watch out, be in line with government's advice to be very cautious and careful before continuing with our normal services,” said Komiti.

Christchurch’s Saint Timothy’s Church welcomed those in the congregation wearing a mask, signing in and who had been vaccinated today.

Vicar Chris Ponniah said the orange light setting had been hard, but there was only a small group of people in the church who are not jabbed.

He said separate church services will be held at a different time, with different rules, for those who did not have a vaccine passport.

Dean of Christchurch Lawrence Kimberley said the church did not want to turn anyone away, especially in a time of crisis.

“It’s reminding us of what our gospel values are and that the love of God is for everyone.

“But there are some people who have all sorts of things going on for them medically and so forth and there’s just no way we want to make them feel they’ve been excommunicated or ostracised."