Hillsong Church has apologized to the New South Wales government after a now-deleted video emerged showing tons of teens attending their youth camp dancing and singing maskless in close proximity, violating the state’s strict Covid-19 public health orders. The singing and dancing were not during worship time, but rather a concert and DJ show.
Wow I’m so glad Hillsong Youth got to enjoy their youth festival yesterday and dance/sing without masks whilst everywhere else has to stop because of restrictions???? @ScottMorrisonMP @Dom_Perrottet ???? pic.twitter.com/X4O5fBlhy2— Adam (@_adamcarmody) January 13, 2022
This revelation led Premier Dominic Perrottet to explain that he was “completely shocked” by the video. In NSW, public health orders ban singing and dancing at music festivals, hospitality venues, nightclubs, entertainment facilities and major recreation facilities, with churches being given an exception for worship – but not for this.
South West Health Minister Brad Hazzard explained, “While the order does not apply to religious services, it does apply to major recreation facilities and this event is clearly in breach of both the spirit and intent of the order, which is in place to help keep the community safe…”
In response to this, Hillsong issued a statement on their website, noting:
These camps have a Christian focus and include worship services. Over a three-day duration the percentage of time spent singing is minor. However we regret giving any perception that we were not playing our part to keep NSW safe and we sincerely apologise to the community at large. Our heart is for people, and loving and caring for all people is at the core of our church.
We have since spoken to NSW Health and received instruction to cease congregant/student singing and dancing during the services that occur on the campsite and have immediately and willingly enacted that instruction.
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