Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, which was founded by Tim Keller and pastored by him until his retirement in 2017, has instituted a vaccination requirement for those wanting to sit on the first floor of the auditorium at its downtown campus during Sunday morning worship services.
This requirement has only been instituted at the downtown campus, where Rev. Jeff White serves as the church’s interim lead pastor. Each Redeemer Presbyterian campus has its own set of guidelines outlined on its respective website.
According to the downtown church’s website, “Individuals who are fully vaccinated (two weeks have elapsed since your final dose or single-shot dose) will be allowed to sit on the first floor of the auditorium without social distancing and masks will be optional.”
Unvaccinated children under the age of 16 are allowed to accompany their vaccinated parent, but Redeemer is asking that they wear masks.
The guidelines also state that masks will be required for everybody in all common areas outside of the first floor of the auditorium. Further, the church says, “For those who prefer to remain in a fully socially distanced and masked area, we will continue to do so on the second-floor balcony area.”
The Redeemer Presbyterian’s downtown congregation meets at a facility owned by the Salvation Army, which may explain why COVID-19 guidelines at the campus are different from other Redeemer Presbyterian campuses that own their own facilities. The church cites Salvation Army COVID-19 guidelines in its statement.
Redeemer Presbyterian’s downtown campus is also offering in-person children’s classes and holds Coffee Hour outside after service, weather permitting.
The church website also assures attendees that Redeemer is taking measures to disinfect surfaces before and after each service, saying, “CDC guidelines will be followed, and frequently touched surfaces (such as door handles, pews, countertops and bathrooms) will be wiped down before and after service. Hand sanitizer will be available for use throughout the building. The auditorium has also been outfitted with a portable air filtration system that filters the entire space.”
Despite these requirements and guidelines, Redeemer Presbyterian pastors and staff will not be asking for attendees to show their COVID-19 vaccination cards to enter the auditorium’s first floor. “Each party will be offered seating options once they arrive and vaccination status will work on a self-reporting honor system,” the website FAQ page states.