Destiny Church performs drive-in service to prove large religious gatherings are safe at Level 2

Destiny Church held its Sunday church service this morning with a drive-in service in an attempt to show the Government churches can operate at Alert Level 2 safely despite current restrictions.

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Destiny Church spokesperson Anna Williamson said churchgoers are being told to stay in their cars and listen to the service on the radio. Source: 1 NEWS

Brian Tamaki performed today’s service - named "We Stand for the Freedoms & Rights of All New Zealanders" – in Wiri, South Auckland after New Zealand dropped from Level 3 on Thursday.

Despite the relaxed restrictions though, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said some gatherings are still limited to just 10 people, including church services and weddings.

But regardless of the limitations, this morning’s service went ahead, albeit with some restrictions in place to make sure they "did it right", the church said.

About 100 members gathered inside the church but they were spaced out to adhere to social distancing rules.

The majority of worshippers however listened to the service on a dedicated radio frequency from their vehicles in the church's packed car park. Three large screens were also set up for those who wanted something visual as well.

Destiny Church spokeswoman Anne Williamson said today’s service was about proving it could be trusted to provide their “essential service” responsibly and safely.

“We’re taking a stand and we’re saying we can be trusted to manage our community,” Ms Williamson said.

“We want to just show people we can be responsible but also that we can be there for our community.”

Ms Williamson added people were asked to keep car windows up and they were not allowed to get out of their vehicles. To ensure the rules were followed, marshals patrolled the car park and she said those who didn’t comply would be asked to leave.

Contact tracing details had also been taken from those inside the church but not those in their vehicles in the car park.

Along with today’s efforts, the church also posted a video to their Facebook page yesterday ahead of the service reminding people to practice physical distancing at church today.

"We know we haven't seen each other for a long while some of us. Your natural instinct is you want to run and give them a really big hug. If they're not from your bubble you'll have to hold off.

"Make sure there's no hugging, no touching ... please don't let us catch you breaking the rules because it ruins it for the rest of us."

Ms Williamson added local police had spoken with Mr Tamaki and were comfortable with how the service was being handled and felt no need to attend.

“We’ve taken them through our protocols and how we’ve planned today and they’re very comfortable with how we’re doing things today.”