Places of worship in NSW such as Christ Church Cathedral Grafton will be able to implement the four-square-metre rule from July 1 as social distancing restrictions are further relaxed.
Places of worship in NSW such as Christ Church Cathedral Grafton will be able to implement the four-square-metre rule from July 1 as social distancing restrictions are further relaxed.

What July 1 means for NSW churches

THE church has been “knocked for six” by the impact of COVID-19 restrictions but by investing in new technology services Christ Church Cathedral in Grafton s now reaching many more people than before the pandemic.

Throughout June services in New South Wales places of worship were restricted to 50 people. From July 1 further lifting of restrictions will allow one person per four square metres.

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However, Dean of the Cathedral, The Very Reverend Dr Gregory Jenks, said even with the restrictions lifting on July 1 the interior of the church will only permit about 55 people.

Rev Jenks said the government was wisely advising people over 70 years to stay at home and that advice applied to a considerable number of their congregation.

However the church invested in technology to bring their services to the people.

“We’ve almost finished setting up our cameras and lighting,” Rev’d Jenks said.

“We’ve probably got the fastest live-streaming set up and we’re training a group of young people in high end media.”

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Where on an average Sunday service about 60 people would attend, Rev Jenks is now reaching 500 to 600 online.

From the comments the reverend has discovered most people tuning in are from Grafton but some are from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, the northern beaches and even overseas.

“People are getting quite used to sitting at home in their slippers with a cup of tea tuning into the service,” he said.

It is even bringing families together as grandparents are often travelling to their children’s houses to make use of their technology to see the service.

But a lot of people are missing being in the church, hearing the music and meeting up with their friends.

“I see them at the shops. They say, when can we come back,” Rev Jenks said. “This is part of their week.”

Articles contributed by Margie Maccoll are supported by the Judith Neilson Institute of Journalism and Ideas.



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