Anglicans question implementation of the traffic light system


The Anglican church is among the organisations trying to navigate the new traffic light system.

In order to operate at maximum levels, under the traffic light system, churches, like businesses are required to refuse access to those not double vaccinated.

Many people have expressed confusion about the new framework and last Friday the Anglican Bishop of Auckland, Ross Bay (pictured), spoke on NewstalkZB saying he is consulting with his community on how best to continue ministering to everyone.

The restrictions on who may and may not attend church services is tricky, as welcoming people is “fundamental to our DNA and we want to be able to offer hospitality and a welcome to everyone,” says Bay.

“We also want to be able to provide a safe and healthy environment for people to come confidently to know, to feel okay about, about being there.”

Bay says businesses and organizations aren’t clear yet about how the government expects them to manage the restricted entry process.

He has concerns like “how will we understand how to examine vaccination certificates?” and “what will we do if somebody’s determined to find entry?”.

Festivals may find this simple as they have trained security on the door as a matter of routine, so managing controlled access is a standard aspect of the entry process.

Churches, on the other hand are generally staffed by volunteers, Bay notes.

He says the Anglican church has always been determined to work with the government and the community in general to to build a healthy community in the face of the Covid-19 virus. Adaptation is key to this, he suggests.

“We’ve had a lot of experience over the last 20 months adapting to the changes and how we can gather, how we come together, how we do things.

“So I’m sure we’ll be able to step up to the one and find a way through it. I suppose at the moment, this is still a few unknowns that make certainty around that more difficult to find.”

He thinks Anglicans will find themselves holding smaller services for people who haven’t been vaccinated.

As Bay doesn’t think the traffic light system is practical, he’s looking for alternative solutions.

“So we’re consulting with our clergy and our local church communities at the moment to see if we can find a way that we’re all agreed on that we think would be the best way to respond.

“We are committed to doing our best to continue to minister to all people.”

There is still much to discuss before Bay will feel all the “i”s have been dotted and the “t”s crossed.

He says he believes 98 percent of the Anglican clergy is vaccinated. He thinks it’s likely Anglicans, like the Catholic community, will require clergy and others in voluntary face-to-face roles to be vaccinated for their safety and the safety of the people they’re working with.

This is still to be decided, however.

“We haven’t formed our vaccination policy yet from the process of doing that on the basis of consultation,” Bay says.


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News category: New Zealand.

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