Welcome to Denham Court
COVID-10, Update from Archbishop (Glenn Davies), February, 2021
Archbishop of Sydney
26 February 2021
Dear brothers and sisters
Greetings in our Saviours name.
I write this letter from Armidale, as I am here for the consecration and installation of the Rev Rodney Chiswell, bishop-elect for the Diocese of Armidale, and a good friend of the Diocese of Sydney. Most of the Assistant Bishops of the Diocese are also with me to assist in the consecration service.
I am sure you have all heard of the easing of restrictions on gathering and movement for NSW, which was announced by the Premier last Wednesday. However, you may not be aware, unless you have read the Public Health Order which comes into force today, that the Government's approach to congregational singing demonstrates little concern for the heavy burden that we have borne this past year, nor an adequate understanding of the importance of singing for our church life, let alone the minimal risk of singing in church after 40 days of no locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the State.
I raised the matter of singing with the Minister for Health as recently as this week. However, the decision is not his alone, but a decision of the Crisis Cabinet of NSW, which met on Wednesday morning and usually follows the advice of the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Kerry Chant. I strongly advocated for a return to singing, and if absolutely necessary, singing with masks. However, I was surprised that singing with masks was only going to be allowed if the capacity decreased to the 4m2 per person. I might add that since people in cinemas can now sit next to each other with 100% capacity allowed for longer than a church service, there does seem to be some inconsistency in this restriction on singing. I became all the more convinced of this after my visit to Brisbane this week to assist in the consecration of the new Bishop of Rockhampton, the Rt Reverend Peter Grice, where the congregation sang lustily without masks! Moreover, I learned that singing in church is also allowed in South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.
The main elements of the Public Health Order are as follows.
50 people are now allowed in our homes (if you have a large Bible study group!).
Up to 30 singers are now allowed in church, as was the case before the Avalon outbreak, though the conditions of 1.5m apart and 5m from the congregation still apply.
If you allow members of the congregation to sing, then everyone must wear a mask, regardless of whether they choose not to sing, and your capacity will be reduced to 4m2 per person.
If you choose not to allow the congregation to sing, then the 2m2 rule still applies.
The Premier also announced that the Government will reconsider these restrictions in three week's time, on 17 March. Hopefully the requirement of masked congregational singing will be withdrawn and likewise the cap of 300 for weddings and funerals will be removed. I shall certainly strongly advocate on your behalf for this outcome.
In the meantime, for the next three weeks, I think many churches would prefer to come to church without masks, even if they could not sing. I shall leave this local decision in your hands, as you assess your congregation's needs.
I realise that our people are weary of restrictions, especially after the ongoing rollout of the Pfizer vaccine. Yet as Christians in our society we are to obey those who govern us. As Peter reminds the fledging congregations in Asia Minor:
"If you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable in the sight of God' (1 Peter 2:20).
May God grant us the grace to endure.
Grace and peace
The Most Rev Dr Glenn Davies Anglican Diocese of Sydney
A Christian Church for All People
Who are we? We are a group of Christians who are excited about what God is doing in the Macarthur area of Sydney.
Denham Court Anglican Church
Our meeting times each Sunday are
8am Traditional Service in the Chapel
10am Family Service and SundayKids
We are located at
30 Church Road, Denham Court.
To find us, click here.
📞 You can phone us on 9829 2871.
Our Hall and carpark are wheel chair friendly ♿ but unfortunately our chapel is not.
Hope to see you soon!