Main Image: Church Meetings Banned

Church Meetings Banned As Hundreds Gather on Sydney Beaches

15 September 2021

2.5 MINS

The government is applying its lockdown exemption laws inconsistently, according to a local church. While church meetings have been banned, the NSW health minister has defended hundreds who chose to gather on local beaches.

[Editor’s Note: This image is a generic stock photo. It is not of the recent beach gatherings]

NSW Health Order Exemptions

As part of the judgement in a recent hearing in the federal court, Justice Griffiths pointed out that there is a clause in the NSW Health Orders (Clause 7.2) that permits exemptions.

After discovering this clause, and having been concerned for the well-being of our congregation for some time, some men from our church applied for an exemption to hold a single outdoor worship service on Sunday the 12th of September.

We offered to have masks worn, social distancing, hand sanitiser, a record of attendees and staggered entrance and exit to ensure there was no congestion.

Churches Meeting Considered Dangerous

The application was lodged on Monday the 6th of September and we received a response from the Department of Health two days later on Wednesday the 8th. We were assured that our “request was assessed by a senior NSW Health Medical Officer acting as a delegate of the Minister for Health and Medical Research”.

Our request was rejected. Apparently, this was

“a necessary action to protect all people of NSW, including those who would be at grave risk should they contract COVID-19.”

We were told that because of the great risk of COVID-19,

“a person must not participate in an outdoor gathering of more than 2 people (subject to limited exceptions).”

An ordered, socially distanced church service was apparently not one of those exceptions.

Meetings On Beaches are Okay

But we discovered on Saturday that according to the Minister for Health and Medical Research himself, Brad Hazzard, going to the beach in droves is an exception to the rule.

When asked what he thought of hundreds of people gathering on local beaches in Sydney’s suburbs, Brad Hazzard stated that

“the fresh air is actually–we know it is the safest place to be at the present time. Dr. Chant and Dr. McAnulty have talked about that many times.”

Clearly, our Health Department thinks that going to the beach is essential — and a blind eye should be turned to any transgressions of Health Orders by beachgoers — but ordered outdoor church services are a great risk to public health.

Imagine for a moment if Sydney churches were permitted to hold outdoor worship services as has been done around the world throughout this pandemic (see here and here for example).

Imagine worshippers gathering in church car parks, on church lawns or in local parks. Imagine the hope that the public preaching of the gospel would offer to a city full of people who are fearful and suffering.

Public outdoor church services would benefit public health in a way that a trip to the beach just can’t do.

So, what can you do about these double standards?

  1. We encourage you to email the Premier, the Health Minister and any other State MP’s pointing out this double standard and requesting the reopening of churches.
  2. We encourage you to apply for an exemption for your church to hold an outdoor service this week. Quote Brad Hazzard’s words in your application.

You can apply for an exemption by going here. Scroll to the bottom of the page, click “No” to “Do you have a reasonable excuse to leave home?”, and fill out the details of your exemption request.

If you’d like to help in the fight to get our churches open, send any response you get to your exemption to

  1. If you believe corporate gathered worship is an essential part of Christianity and an essential service to the community, read and sign the Moses Statement.

If your application for an outdoor worship service fails, you could always hold a service on the beach in your swimmers.


Image by Jay Wennington on Unsplash.

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  1. Jimi Ioannidis 15 September 2021 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    Govt has lost its mind.
    We are all locked in this govt prison.
    Let our people go free.
    In Gods name.

  2. Anna 17 September 2021 at 10:31 am - Reply

    Revivalists have been having meetings and preaching in parks and on beaches for many months in the USA.

    It’s time the church in Australia got out of buildings and meet in places where the unsaved can hear the Gospel and be set free, healed and delivered.

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