CHANGES TO OUR APPROACH TO THE RED TRAFFIC LIGHT SETTING
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January 24th, 2022

At the beginning of the Traffic Light System at the start of December, our church released a statement outlining our approach to the Traffic Light System and what our plan was for Green, Orange and Red settings. As you undoubtedly are aware, the Government made an announcement yesterday morning that the Omicron variant has made its way out into the community and that all of New Zealand will move to the Red setting.

 

While we as a church recognise that the purpose of these restrictions are to help protect our communities from COVID-19, this change in settings does pose some real challenges to our church.

 

Under Orange, we have been meeting in three services at 9am, 11am, and 6pm with a 50-person limit to each gathering. We have accepted these limits because of our decision not to check for vaccine passes in any of our services.

 

Now, because there is no instruction manual on how to lead a church through a global pandemic, one of the things we said when we made this announcement last month was that we would review our approach at the end of January. There have been some discussions among our staff, our key team, and members of our congregation around our current approach and if it is still the best approach moving forward.

 

Because of this new government announcement, our Key Team and staff met yesterday afternoon to discuss the approach that we would take as we move into the Red setting. The plan we announced last February was that under the Red setting, our church would move to a house church model where we would meet in homes. This is because under Red, we are limited to just 25 attendees at a gathering if we do not check vaccine passes.

 

After some more discussion, and considering the suitability of such an approach for our congregation, our team felt that meeting in house churches is not a sustainable approach for our church over the long-term weeks and months that we may be under the Traffic Light Restrictions.

 

Therefore, it has been decided, that we will adjust our approach, specifically to the Red Traffic Light settings, and our church will hold the following services under Red:

A 9am Service that is open to all where we will not check vaccine passes. Under Red, this will be limited to 25 attendees, plus staff and volunteers who run the service.

 

An 11am Service where a vaccine pass will be required for entry. Under Red, this will be limited to 100 attendees, plus staff and volunteers.

 

A 6pm Service where a vaccine pass will be required for entry. Under Red, this will be limited to 100 attendees, plus staff and volunteers.

 

These changes are effective starting next Sunday, January 30th. We will continue to livestream our 11am and 6pm Services, and continue to have other functions throughout the week that may or may not require vaccine passes.

 

As we’ve tried to navigate these restrictions, our heart has always been to balance the safety of the more vulnerable and immunocompromised members of our church with our desire to preserve the unity of our body as best as we can. This has been difficult even under Orange, as 50 person limits have meant that not everyone who wants to come to church each week has been able to, and not everyone who wants to come to church has felt safe to do so.

 

To the vaccine-hesitant members of our church family, we want to say to you that you are still our family and you belong to us, and we really find this situation upsetting. While the Red Traffic Light settings are in flux, we know that it’s not forever, and we want to do what we can to accommodate you during this time and make sure you still have a place to belong in our community.

 

Although the 9am Service is open to all, because of the 25 person limit, we are working on setting up the ticketing to make sure those who do not have vaccine passes will have first priority to the 9am Service slots. If you do not have a vaccine pass, and you would like to be given priority to book tickets for the 9am Service, it is essential that you get in touch with Pastor John and let us know who you are so that we know whom to send the emails out to. Please email him at John@c3chch.org.

We will review our approach again at the end of February, and also continue to make adjustments as needed to deal with the Omicron outbreak. We want to say that these restrictions may feel difficult and unnerving. There are some strong feelings out there, but it’s important to keep in mind that our real problem is the problem that none of us asked for and nobody wanted, and that is the problem of this COVID-19 virus and it isn’t going to be this disruptive to us forever.

 

More details will be coming this week about our services, so please keep an eye on your email inbox and on our church website. If you want to chat about any of this or have any feedback, please contact any one of our pastors or Key Team.

Thank you for your continued support and we treasure your prayers.

The South City C3 Staff and Key Team