With Wollongong categorised as part of Greater Sydney under the latest COVID safe restrictions Christmas church services in the city were a little different this year for all denominations.
St Michael's Anglican Cathedral senior minister Sandy Grant said the four square metre rule per person sitting in a church meant some changes needed to be made.
At St Michael's two additional services were held on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so more parishioners could attend church and two services were live streamed.
"We have had to add an extra service on both days," Reverend Grant said.
"Our normal capacity is 250 and we often cram in more than 250 at Christmas. But with the four metre square rule that reduced our capacity down to 65 in the cathedral plus 60 in the hall watching a live stream feed.
"People have had to book free reserve tickets. And they were strongly advised to wear a mask."
Rev Grant said while 2020 had thrown up many challenges in terms of holding services, churches in the region had adapted and become far more tech savvy.
People have had to book free reserve tickets. And they were strongly advised to wear a maskReverend Sandy Grant
"St Michael's has been live streaming services continuously on Sundays since March," he said.
"We have picked up a few technical skills this year. At the cathedral we were blessed to have people with professional skills in that area which was a big help."
Earlier this year during the lock down St Michael's was permitted five people in the cathedral to produce an online service.
Rev Grant said by early December restrictions had eased to the point where there were two Sundays where the congregation was able to sing.
But that has been taken away again and just five people are leading the singing in church on Christmas Day.
"We are encouraging people who watch at home to open their windows, turn the volume up, belt out the carols to their heart's content and let their neighbours know they are celebrating Christmas," Rev Grant said.
"There is no restriction on singing in your own home.
"The Christmas services are carols and bible readings with a short sermon we hope will encourage people.
"The theme is a different kind of Christmas. But in the same way we have no room at the cathedral there was no room at the Inn for Christ. And the question we asked was is there room in your heart for him? He certainly has room for us if we will have him."
Rev Grant said the 11am Christmas Day service was the third one for the day after three were held on Christmas Eve. It also had an international flavour with students from overseas attending.
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