I write in response to the current situation with the COVID-19 outbreak and the growing alarm and panic in our community.
As an eldership and board, we want to be wise and diligent in caring for all the members in our community. With that in mind, we have prepared the following fact sheet that will provide you with relevant information and also outlines some precautions that we would encourage you to seriously consider as we continue to meet and fellowship together as God’s people.
We ask for your cooperation in the above as we seek to be loving and caring of each other as we deal with this situation. If you need further information or simply need to talk, please do not hesitate to contact us.
In late June, an outbreak of the Delta strain of the coronavirus was discovered in Sydney. Due to the severity and highly contagious nature of this strain, NSW Health enforced a total lockdown of Greater Sydney from 6pm on 26 June 2021 - at least until 9 July 2021. This means that we cannot meet together for the Sundays 27 June and 4 July. In conjunction with government advice, we will review how soon we can resume gathering in person.
As community transmission of COVID continues to remain under control, NSW Health further relaxed restrictions in late March. Churches are now permitted to hold services with a less restrictive 1 person per 2 sq metre rule, and masks are no longer required indoors in places of worship. With these revised social-distance measures, we are pleased to announce an increased indoor capacity of 65 in the auditorium (no overflow will be provided). Thus, our registration system remains in place, as well as online streaming.
With the wave of cases over Christmas having been suppressed, we are glad to announce we are resuming in-person services from Sunday, 7 February, at the old times of 9:15 and 11am. With the current social-distance rules remaining in place, we will hold our services with 30 people in the auditorium, and a further 20 people under the awning. We have introduced a registration system to ensure that people can visit at least twice in a given month, as well as publishing COVID-19 Conditions of Entry (please refer above).
As COVID-19 has come under further suppression, we have seen government relax some aspects of social distance rules. With this development, it made services a possibility at the church Auditorium. We have therefore decided to resume in-person services in 2021, at 9:15 and 11am. COVID protocols will continue to be in place - QR Code sign in, minimised physical contact and the use of sanitizer. In mid-December, however, Sydney has experienced a rise in cases, which forced social distance rules to be reinstated, and delayed our ability to resume in-person services.
From October, as the spread of COVID-19 has come under greater control, and in response to the needs of our members - we have begun to hold live services once again. We hold our services in line with the current advice from Australian government and health authorities - by minimal physical contact, the use of sanitizer and introducing QR Codes to assist with contact tracing. We will continue to monitor this situation and relax or reintroduce rules depending on the further curtailment or spread of COVID-19, and in accordance with government advice.
In early March, we took the step of minimising physical contact, providing sanitizer and changing the way we distributed communion during our services. However as COVID-19 spread, further changes were enforced by Australian government and health authorities. Since mid-March, our Sunday services have moved online - as have ministries including Children, Youth, Mainly Music, Connect Groups and Alpha.
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Facts
Coronavirus - what it is and when to act
Coronavirus is a virus that can cause respiratory illnesses. Symptoms of the virus can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Affected people may experience flu-like symptoms (such as fever, sore throat, muscular pain and headaches), dry cough and/or difficulty breathing.
If any of the following applies to you, please follow the Australian Government advice of staying at home, and/or seeking medical attention immediately:
- if you are feeling unwell and may be suffering symptoms of Coronavirus; or,
- if you have been in contact with someone who has or may have been in contact with someone who has Coronavirus; or,
- if you have travelled to an area affected by the Coronavirus (such as China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy).
Groups most at risk
Some people who are infected may not get sick at all. Some will get mild symptoms from which they will recover easily, while others may become very ill, very quickly. From previous experience with other coronaviruses, the people at most risk of serious infection are:
- people with compromised immune systems, such as people with cancer
- elderly people
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- very young children and babies
- people with diagnosed chronic medical conditions
Preventing the spread of the Coronavirus
The latest advice from the Australian Government about preventing the spread of the Coronavirus is:
- People who have been in contact with confirmed novel coronavirus cases must be isolated in their home for 14 days after exposure;
- All overseas travel has been suspended indefinitely, and some interstate travel remains prohibited
- All returned overseas travellers must remain in isolation for 14 days;
- Practice good hygiene to protect against infections (eg, washing hands with soap, use a tissue to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and avoid close contact with others, such as touching)
- Surgical masks in the community are only helpful in preventing people who have coronavirus disease from spreading it to others. There is little evidence supporting the widespread use of surgical masks in healthy people to prevent transmission in public.
It is important that you stay up to date and informed of the facts relating to the Coronavirus. This can be done by checking the following websites:
- The Australian Department of Health’s Coronavirus Alert page which is updated daily;
- The Smart Traveller website for up to date travel alerts, warnings - as well as news on when travel can resume;
- The Australian Department of Health’s Coronavirus information page which provides information about the virus.