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'We would cease to be the church': NI pastor on why churches should never use a vaccine passport to admit worshippers

by Chantalle Edmunds

A Northern Ireland pastor - who has opted to keep his church open during lockdown - has told Premier the church should never accept a Covid vaccine passport if one was introduced,

Almost 240,000 people have signed a petition on the UK Government and Parliament petitions website against the idea generally. When a petition has more than 100,000 signatures it is then considered by parliament in a debate.

Speaking to Premier, Rev Paul Burns from the Adullam Christian Fellowship Church in Belfast said he doesn't believe churches should ever deny entry to worshippers and it seems unlikely a Covid vaccine passport would ever be mandatory.

"I serve Almighty God and I represent the kingdom of God, which is different to the United Kingdom or to nations around the world. Therefore, I would have to say if the Government obligated that ...the church would have to say no and I would say no, because I serve what Christ said in Matthew 25, when we start saying no to certain people to come into the doors of the church, we cease to be the church.

"They can suggest what they want, the Government in Northern Ireland, they asked voluntarily for churches to close. I chose to open because of the vulnerable people, like some churches, the big four decided to close. But we weren't instructed because they couldn't tell us to close. It's same way to tell us that we must use passports coming into churches. But it could be suggested, but I myself will never be operating that system."

Instead of a passport, Rev Burns advocates the use of testing to gain entry into different countries:

"If you test people to prove that they haven't got the Covid virus, that in itself is OK because you're not forcing the person to take action. You're just asking them to prove that they haven't got the virus inside them, and they're not going to affect the people, which is quite reasonable."

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