German evangelical church recommends proof of vaccination for services


Southern Europe


People take a break after they were vaccinated against COVID-19 at the St Antonius Church in Castrop-Rauxel, western Germany. photo AFP, Ina Fassbender

The Evangelical church of Westfalia recommends that its congregations use the so-called 3G-rule (geimpft, genesen, getestet) for church services.

The 3G rule implies that church visitors need to provide evidence of vaccination, a recent recovery from Covid-19 or a negative test to attend a church service.

Many visitors to the services are already immunized against corona, said the fourth-largest German regional church on its website on Thursday. Children and adolescents already met the requirements through regular tests in schools. Everyone else can participate with a negative test.


Free of charge

The clergy of the congregation in Nierenhof, just south of the city of Essen, was convinced: Last week, it passed the 3G rule for indoor worship. However, it does not want to send people away either: Visitors who have neither been vaccinated nor recovered and cannot present a valid negative test result can be tested free of charge before the service, writes press agency Idea.

The Matthäus parish in Muenster introduced “3G” directly after the recommendation of the regional church. “We couldn’t let anyone in spontaneously anyway,” explains Pastor Volker Roggenkamp to Idea. For more than a year, attendance at the church service has only been possible by appointment. Because of the minimum distance, there was only space for 65 participants in the Matthäuskirche. The “tickets” for the services were always sold out quickly. Now 120 visitors can come again. This does not include children under the age of twelve. According to the 3G rule, they are considered harmless because of the regular tests in schools.

According to Idea, the people who attend church services do not mind the 3G rule. “The church service attendees pull out vaccination records or test results at the church door on Sundays just as naturally as they do on weekdays in the restaurant or at the hairdresser’s.”


According to the Corona Protection Ordinance for North Rhine-Westphalia, which came into force on Friday, the 3G rule applies from a seven-day incidence of 35 new infections per 100,000 people. After that, many indoor events will only be accessible to vaccinated and recovered people. Everyone else must show a negative test.

This rule, however, does not apply to church services and religious events. North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister and CDU Chancellor candidate Armin Laschet welcomes this decision because “church services are something other than a visit to a disco”, Laschet said on Tuesday, according to Bavaria’s public broadcaster BR24.

The reason church services and other religious events are exempt from the 3G rule is the freedom to practice religion, anchored in the Basic Law.

The 3G rule is handled differently by the churches in North Rhine-Westphalia. The Westphalian and Lippe regional churches recommend that their congregations apply the 3G rule for church services immediately. The Catholic dioceses of Aachen, Essen, Münster, Cologne and Paderborn do not want to use the 3G rule because it is not intended for church services.



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