Church in a Covid World
Church in a Covid World
About this time last year I expressed both surprise and dismay that after the major shock that we had experienced that started back in February and in fact were still in the midst of, namely the Coronavirus pandemic, we as a Church community in NZ basically went back to BAU (business as usual). Sure most of us had ‘pivoted’ a little and went online but overall we didn’t have a national conversation about the true nature of the Church. We didn’t re-visit our ecclesiology.
Twelve months on that has changed.
Now with the Delta variant well and truly amongst us and talk of new variants more contagious than the original virus, strong push to vaccinate the entire population now extending to vaccine mandates by our Government and domestic vaccination passports etc it’s got us all thinking again about the fundamental question of the nature of the church. Running right alongside this are growing concerns around the science and the role of Government. Below I have collated the ‘key’ questions that I have thought about, that I know most of you have thought about and are swirling around the blogosphere.
- What does it mean to be a local church (ecclesia) in these times?
- Is physical gathering indoors for worship services the crucial thing or is it connection and community that we should emphasise at this present time?
- Is it right or fair that only the vaccinated can worship together indoors in the one room doing what we have always done?
- Could we or should we meet in different ways and conduct our services differently?
- Are vaccines a ‘gift from God’?
- Does the Government have a responsibility to mandate vaccines and limit individual freedoms if you are not vaccinated? In other words No jab = No job, No fun and No (public) worship………..
- Where does individual freedom finish and community responsibility start?
- Should Pastors declare their vaccination status?
- What role, if any, do Pastors have in assisting the public health response?
- Can the science around this pandemic be trusted?
- Can the NZ Health Department, Medsafe, our GP’s and expert medical advisors be trusted?
- Does history have anything to teach us?
- Is there a case for a short-medium term response that might be different to a longer term response?
- What does it mean to be a good ‘corporate’ citizen in unusual times like this?
- Is protesting either a reasonable or appropriate Christian response at times like this?
- What other questions are you thinking about?
I’m sure that all of us are wrestling with these and other questions, concerns and challenges that are now staring us in the face. May God help us navigate these times and these issues with great wisdom, great compassion and great love. May He give us extra Grace to listen carefully to others and to recognise our own biases and may He give us the courage we need to do what He calls us to do.
P.S. For those living in Hamilton and surrounds:-
YOU ARE INVITED…………..
A Round Table Conversation
Se the details here
Alan Vink is currently the Executive Director for LeadershipWorx. Prior to this role he has been the Executive Director of Willow Creek Association NZ (WillowNZ), a Baptist pastor (23 years), Bible College teacher, and church consultant.