Churches pleased gathering limits relaxed

Knox Church. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Knox Church. Photo ODT files
The timing of relaxed restrictions on gatherings may be apt, a Dunedin vicar says.

St John’s Roslyn Anglican Church Rev Eric Kyte said this Sunday was when people would celebrate Pentecost, which some considered to be the birthday of the Church.

"The timing is wonderful," he said, as meeting again would feel like a new start."

In a further sign the Covid-19 pandemic was under control in New Zealand, the Government announced yesterday the limit on gatherings would rise from to 10 to 100, from Friday.

That would enable many faith communities to meet for the first time in weeks and more people would be allowed at weddings and funerals.

Otago Muslim Association chairman Mohammed Rizwan said he was yet to talk with his council but he expected the Dunedin mosque would be open for daily prayers five times a day.

Friday prayers would typically attract gatherings of more than 100 people.

Options could include dispersing people into two or three sessions.

"I think people will be relieved ... relieved and happy," Dr Rizwan said.

First Church of Otago minister Ed Masters said parishioners had understood the Government’s approach to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The congregation at each of the church’s three Sunday services would number fewer than 100.

Rev Masters was yet to review guidelines but expected people were keen to gather again.

Dunedin City Baptist Church team leader Bruce Elder said 400-500 would usually gather for worship at the Main South Rd church on Sundays.

The relaxation of rules would enable people to meet more easily in groups.

Mr Elder said people were looking forward to meeting together as one church when the rules allowed it. A party would be held to celebrate the occasion.

He was thankful for a lack of new Covid-19 cases.

Gillions Funeral Directors owner Keith Gillions said the lift in the limit would make it easier for people to plan services.

"People have missed interacting with each other."



That many most clergy have chosen to submit to government, rather than the fear of god, is not healthy. Perhaps the church resides in the people, more than the clergy and the buildings. Yet, we will need the church in the coming months, more than ever. The deliberate destruction of a fragile debt laden economy has yet to be reckoned.

Calvinists do 'fear of God'. Would you prefer ecclesiastical disobedience?

The Unitarian Church recognises there are congregations vulnerable to ill health and are making safe arrangements accordingly.

To fear God is to love him.

The worst atrocities committed on this planet are those that have been committed by religions. The reason that religions are forced to obey secular law is that they can not be trusted with any real power because they abuse it consistently. They have had plenty of opportunities and they have failed every single time.

The Prime Minister evidently believes McDonald's is more essential to our country than Churches.

As a result, the House of Ronald were "allowed" more lenient restrictions and larger numbers much sooner than the House of the Lord.

Remember that in September.