Ngā mihi ki a tātou katoa,
A smorgasbord of options
As the Traffic Light system begins, there is an impressive range of ways in which New Zealand churches are planning to move forward.
- Many churches where it appears everyone is vaccinated will move ahead with certificated services
- Many churches will hold both certificated and open-entry services, either at different times or in separate spaces
- Many churches will hold just open-entry services
- Many churches will focus on gatherings in homes, at least until February
- Almost all churches will retain an on-line worship option
One way or another, most churches are working hard to care for everyone. Whatever options are chosen, the safety of our people must always be protected.
Note: in the Red level, the 10-only limit for uncertificated gatherings has now been raised to 25, and it has been clarified that staff and workers are not counted in number limits. Also, Minister Michael Wood has clarified (and this may help some) that “Workers at gatherings are only required to be vaccinated when attendees are required to hold a My Vaccine Pass. This means that workers at gatherings that choose to operate within capacity constraints set out in the COVID-19 Protection Framework, without vaccine passes, do not have to be vaccinated”.
Announcing the One-Day NZ Christian Leaders Forum
- NZCN is planning a One-Day NZ Christian Leaders Forum on Wednesday 16 March 2022, probably 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. This will be held in Wellington, within easy reach of the airport. It will be an opportunity for Christian leaders from across the country to meet and confer on some key matters affecting NZ church and society. All Christian leaders are very welcome. As this will be the day following the heads of churches (NCLANZ) meeting, and we hope most denominational leaders will be able to stay on. Please diary this now! In the event of major Covid complications, we will hold the day on-line.
- Because of all the risks and uncertainties around holding a residential multi-day national conference during a pandemic, NZCN has decided to postpone the New Zealand Christian Leaders’ Congress until 15-17 March 2023
Christianity, politics, and secular intolerance
It is good if governments are inspired by a range of Christian values e.g. generosity, social justice, fighting poverty, caring for the vulnerable, environmentalism, and respect for faith, life, marriage, and family. However, too close or direct a connection between Christianity and politics can lead to very unhelpful distortions.
NZCN is politically non-aligned, not least because values that are consistent with Christian faith can be found across the political spectrum, and there are committed Christian believers in a number of political parties. We acknowledge the work of all MPs, and pray for them. We know they all face relentless pressures from many directions.
We congratulate Christopher Luxon, as he takes on the very challenging role of leading the Opposition. It has been disturbing to observe media obsessing over the fact that Luxon is a Christian, as if being a Christian has now become something obnoxious and dangerous. Some interviewers interrogated Luxon about his views on abortion, as if it were now completely unacceptable for anyone to question the ethics of killing the unborn. Some others wrote speculative and deeply uninformed articles about what sinister and extreme things it might mean for someone to be “evangelical”. Was all this a display of secular intolerance?
A call to prayer and fasting for those facing very serious illness
One of New Zealand’s largest churches, LIFE church, has heard this last week that their senior pastor Paul De Jong is having brain surgery for metastasised melanoma. See here his words to his people about that. The leaders of many New Zealand churches have called here for a day of prayer and fasting this Saturday (4 December) for Paul, and for others in similar circumstances. Such people needing much prayer include NZCN’s former National Director, Glyn Carpenter, who is very courageously fighting cancer in multiple parts of his body. We all know such people within our own circles, in our families or churches or other circles. So please pray, this Saturday, or any day!