Hillsong Church has apologised for allowing hundreds of people to sing and dance at a youth camp in the Hunter on January 13.
It comes after health authorities demanded singing and dancing stop at the event, while police also stepped in to ensure COVID-19 compliance.
While police initially ruled it out, Premier Dominic Perrottet said the camp’s organisers of the camp could still be fined.
Hillsong Church has always abided by public health orders as directed by each government, and takes COVID safe procedures very seriously for all services and events. Ensuring the safety of those attending Hillsong events, and supporting the wider community effort to keep Australia safe, are both priorities for our church.
It is important to clarify that the current youth camps we are holding are not music festivals. These are high school aged events that include sporting activities and games. They are alcohol-free events, held outdoors, and the number of students attending each camp is just over 200. The students are known to us and part of the same social network. All of these factors have been communicated by the NSW Government as low-risk as described under current guidelines. We have also implemented strict COVID safe procedures before and during each camp which include professional paramedics onsite 24 hours per day with testing capabilities.
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.