Two weeks ago, we announced in church that after two months of having a 50-person limit in church with no Covid certificates, we would change over to Covid-certificate only services with up to 100 attendees as from Sunday Nov. 28. This concept would run through January 16 and then be re-assessed.
Concurrently, we made an official request to the Luzern health authorities about whether we could have Covid certificate attendees on the main sanctuary level and non-Covid certificate attendees in the balcony arriving through a separate entrance. This request was unfortunately denied by LU health authorities.
Our proposed change to a 100-person certificate-only concept was met with approval from many people, but also with dis- appointment and counter suggestions from others.
A suggestion was put forward to install plexiglass sheeting around the balcony section to create a separate space. This suggestion, however, does not comply with the response from the LU Health Authorities and would not be acceptable. Another suggestion was to have a nurse available to do testing for unvaccinated folks against a small fee at the church entrance. This option would not produce an appropriate Covid certificate and would therefore not be acceptable to LU Health Authorities either.
Obviously, these suggestions and objections were made with good intentions in an attempt for us to continue to be as inclusive as possible with our church services, a concept for which many people have expressed support.
We are all aware of the current situation in Europe, where Covid cases are currently increasing. Cases are also rising in Switzerland, as people are now more indoors with the colder weather. Lockdown-type actions are starting to be imposed in a few neighboring countries and there is an important Covid vote in Switzerland next Sunday, Nov. 28. So, the overall Covid situation remains very fluid.
Taking all this into consideration, your Church Leadership, after prayerful reflection and much discussion, has decided on the following :
- Next Sunday, Nov. 28, we will have a Covid Certificate only service. Attendees will need to show either a Covid Certificate, a Covid Test certificate or a Covid recovery certificate. These certificates will be checked at the door. Advance registration for this service is not required. Sunday school will be held as usual with teachers and students going directly to their classrooms.
- The back section of the church will be opened and there will not be an overflow area.
- As from Sunday, Dec. 5, we now propose to go to two services of 50 persons without certificates. The first service will be from10.00 to 11.15 and the second service will be from 11.30 to 12.45. Sunday school will be held during the first service only. The back section of the church will be opened and there will no longer be an overflow area. This will, however, depend on getting enough volunteers.
- This solution will allow many more people to attend our church during the Christmas holiday period and will ensure that people are not turned away from attending, which has been a recurring issue. Advanced registration for these services will be required.
- This is a change from what we announced two weeks ago but the Leadership wanted to continue to be as inclusive as possible under the current restrictions while responding to the several concerns which have been raised.
However, please know that this is a temporary measure. The intention is to run this concept through mid-January. It will be dependent on whether we can get more volunteers to be on welcoming team to check off attendees for the two services as they enter and whether we can staff the technical team for two services. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest to volunteer. Again, if we don’t get enough volunteers, we will not be able to have these two services. We also want to thank Pastor Paul for his willingness to conduct two services during the coming weeks.
The Covid-certificate only service on November 28 is an important and necessary trial. We did this for the charity concert, but we have not done it for a church service yet. We need to be ready to go to this concept in case indoor events are restricted to Covid-certificate only attendees by the Swiss Federal government, which we believe, remains a real possibility.
We realize that this is a significant change to what we announced a few weeks ago. However, after prayerful reflection, the Church Leadership decided that this was the most inclusive option available to us under the current Covid restrictions which are in place at this time.
We appreciate your continuing support as we manage through this challenging and ever-changing Covid situation.
Church Leadership on Covid restrictions at ICL