After a month of no community transmission of COVID in NSW a change.org petition suggests it is time to allow churches to sing inside.
“Given the lack of COVID transmissions in NSW, this restriction seems inconsistent with other industries, and disproportionate to the risk posed,” the petition says.
“The loss of singing can have a very bad effect on people’s mental and spiritual health. As believers, we desperately want to encourage each other in song with the hope we have in Jesus Christ. Our community needs hope so badly at the moment.”
Kamal Weerakoon a Presbyterian minister and a former Moderator of the NSW Presbyterians, has written a strong endorsement of the petition.
“Singing is a significant element of Christian corporate worship. Obeying the government is an important aspect of Christian Godliness.
“And so is caring for each other – what the Bible calls ‘love of neighbour’.
“The ban on singing was perfectly understandable as a temporary measure to protect health during a worldwide emergency. Our loss of our ability to sing was part of the wider losses everyone suffered because of the pandemic. It was right for us to restrain our “rights” for a time, for the sake of our “neighbours”, to protect each other from the risks of catching this dangerous disease.
“But it is – praise God! – no longer necessary to suffer such severe restrictions. The risk of spreading the virus has significantly decreased. Many other sectors of society have, rightly, been permitted to enjoy the benefits of physical, verbal expression. So we appeal to the NSW govt: please permit us to sing in church again.
“Such permission will boost your credibility as a good government – a government which rightly cares about public health, but also cares about religious communities, and respects religion enough to permit religious communities to worship in traditional ways, where those worship practices are demonstrably no danger to public health.”
Some of the reasons governments have been singing indoors was explored in an Eternity story earlier this year “You’ll need to be cautious about singing when church returns; here’s why” which examined the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) report of the Skagit Valley Chorale outbreak of COVID centred on a choir practice.
Some of the factors that will need to be taken into account will be how well ventilated a church building is, how much singing is proposed, and the amount of social distancing required.