This section will be continually updated as we monitor the latest Australia Department of Health recommendations and WHO guidelines. The most current update will appear at the top of the page.
26 March 2020 COVID-19 Update
We continue to adjust and respond to the developments of COVID-19 in Sydney as a community and ministry. Our state—New South Wales—currently has some of the strictest guidelines in Australia and we have carefully and promptly implemented all measures recommended by state and commonwealth health authorities.
Some of our staff members departed over the weekend to be with their family and a few more have flights scheduled for this weekend. (We have no students with us at this time and all incoming outreach teams have been cancelled.) Our remaining team continues to do our part to flatten the curve of infection by staying indoors and adhering to all recommendations laid out by our state and commonwealth health authorities. We have also implemented three times daily cleaning of shared surfaces, twice daily cleaning of light switches and doorknobs, as well as keeping a daily record of temperatures and any symptoms. We’re confident we’ve taken the measures needed to care for our YWAM Sydney Newtown family well. (Please note: We are not accepting guests at this time.)
Normal ministry operations are currently on hold. For now, we are catching up on some much-needed administration, working to create hope-filled digital content, and connecting and praying with people who are in self-isolation or quarantine. We are also using the time to deepen our spiritual lives and grow as a team by doing an online Bible course together. We are lucky to all live in one home so we don’t have to cease meeting together around the family dinner table and to read aloud together, worship, pray, or play games. This is one really wonderful perk of our team shrinking down to the size of a large family of nine.
We wanted to take a moment to especially thank those who gave toward our outdoor garden project. The timing of installing our new grass and having our outdoor area ready to go could not have been better since we are now all confined to our home. We are incredibly thankful for this green space to enjoy!
Thank you for your continued prayers and support.
20 March 2020 COVID-19 Update
The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented circumstances which have resulted in national and local government responses all over the world, but in many cases advice changes from one day to the next. We have been watching closely and staying in close communications with other YWAM leaders and elders while we adhere to the most current recommendations given by NSW Department of Health, Australian Department of Health, and WHO.
Since we have no DTSs or overseas outreaches currently in operation, the closures and restrictions do not significantly impact us on a local level here at YWAM Sydney Newtown. In saying that, the small team that lives here is abiding by all government recommendations including how we gather, health and hygiene practices, and social distancing measures. We care deeply about those in our care and are committed to walking this out with both prudence and love as we seek daily updates and adjust our plans, programs, and procedures as needed.
At this point our September 2020 DTS is unaffected and will proceed as planned. If you are still considering doing a DTS in the future we encourage you to proceed with your application process. Of course this is a dynamic situation and we will continue to recalibrate as needed, taking into account all recommendations from health and government authorities.
As a community we are deeply committed to one another and committed to our belief that there will always be ways to “love our neighbours” even when the ways in which we do so must change. This is an opportunity for us to press in to Jesus, stay anchored in our faith, find solace and wisdom in Scripture, and support one another practically as we take all heath and safety precautions very seriously.
Thank you for your continued prayers for us as a community and ministry. We sense a great opportunity to let these circumstances form and shape us to be more Christlike as we seek the Lord and remember that he is not surprised by anything that we face.
Please know that we’re also praying for you—friends and loved ones, partners and supporters, neighbours and family—during these trying times. Please reach out to us any time if you’d like extra support from a distance. We’d love to chat with you and pray for you.
Peace be with you.
16 March 2020 COVID-19 Update
Dear friends, supporters, and those connected to YWAM Sydney Newtown,
It’s been a dramatic weekend as the world works to keep abreast of the global COVID-19 Pandemic developments and latest recommendations from local government health authorities as well as WHO guidelines. We have been closely monitoring the emergence and impact of the virus on Australia (and globally), and we are implementing all Australian health and safety recommendations and adhering to the latest travel restrictions. We continue to update team members as new recommendations emerge.
Our priority is to ensure the health and safety of our students, staff, and community. We also care deeply about our neighbours—especially those most susceptible to the virus and those for whom social distancing will be the source of further isolation and loneliness. In light of the escalation we have postponed our various gatherings such as Monday night dinners, community worship gatherings, and our English Corner Socials** until further notice. (We do not have any overseas outreaches scheduled until November.)
During this time of uncertainty we are committed to watching out for each other and finding ways we can safely support those in need in our community. Thank you for your prayer for all those affected, and for our team as we monitor the situation daily and adjust accordingly.
**If you are a local friend in need of support, please do not let this hinder you from reaching out. We will be joining Power to Change’s English Corners online via Zoom. Please let us know if you’d like the details to join us online or if there are other ways you need support.
7 March 2020 – COVID-19 Update
Announcement regarding COVID-19 – We are monitoring the updates about coronavirus and continuing to take precautionary measures as recommended by health officials. At this time no overseas outreaches are planned until November and we are hopeful the virus will have been contained by then. Our local outreach continues as normal, taking into consideration guidelines set out for us by NSW Health.
We are actively looking for ways to serve our community right now as many vulnerable people are left without basic supplies. Thank you for your prayers and support.
5 February 2020 – Coronavirus Update
You may be wondering how the 2019 Novel Coronavirus outbreak might impact us here in Sydney. We wanted to let you know that as a community we are taking extra precautions as advised by the Australian government to ensure the safety of our staff and students. (Please see this factsheet from the Australia Department of Health.)
Travel from mainland China has been halted and we don’t foresee any immediate threat to our staff or students, however we’re watching the official updates closely as Sydney is a city of immigrants and many residents travel to and from China regularly.
You may be aware that we’re starting a ministry to serve international students at Sydney Uni campus, which borders our neighbourhood (Newtown). As a precaution we are looking at delaying the launch of our English Corner ministry in order to err on the side of caution. We don’t anticipate the virus will impact us health-wise, but we do believe it will lead to increased isolation, fear, and prejudice for international students. At the appropriate time, we look forward to serving these young people to ensure they are welcomed warmly into Australia with Biblical hospitality and practical help and support as they practice English and learn to live in the Australian context. In the meantime, please pray for those directly impacted by the virus and for health officials to be able to contain it and serve those in affected areas.
Featured image credit: Melbourne Polytechnic
Latest posts by Adriel Booker (see all)
- COVID-19 Updates - 7th Mar 2020
- Launching a New Student Ministry: English Corner Socials - 20th Feb 2020
- For the Love of Sydney Youth Camp - 4th Dec 2019