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Hillsong's New Megachurch Gains Additional Support in Sydney

Hillsong Church has gained the support of its former opponent, the Rosebery Residents Action Group, for its application to convert an Alexandria, Australia warehouse into a megachurch.

“Megachurches generate a lot of noise and traffic,” said Rosebery Residents Action Group’s Graeme Grace. “If they can’t go into commercial or industrial areas, where can they go?”

Hillsong has given up on Sydney Council and asked the Land Environment Court to approve its plan to construct the new place of worship.

In a statement, Hillsong said it had lodged an appeal after the council failed to make a timely decision. Submitted in January, Hillsong’s application for a megachurch awaits approval, even with the Rosebery Residents Action Group’s support.

The court confirmed that Hillsong filed an action against the council’s “deemed refusal” of its application to construct a “place of public worship” for 1100 people in Sydney Corporate Park on Doody Street. The worship center would be open 7 a.m. - 10:30 p.m. seven days a week in the industrial area.

The church’s plan to convert Alexandria warehouse into a venue for worship “could come up against a ban on places of public worship in industrial areas being proposed by the City,” the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Warehouses in Australia’s industrial districts have been used since the 1970s for auditorium-style worship, and non-Christian places of worship have also been established in the same manner.

The City of Sydney wants to limit this activity, and preserve industrial zones as “employment lands.” Sydney officials have proposed the ban on places of worship in its draft local environment plan.

Hillsong, the Salvation Army, the Australian Christian Churches Group, and the Rosebery Residents Action Group have all written to the Sydney Council demanding it drop the ban on places of worship, according to the Southern Courier.

Hillsong’s appeal will appear before the court on September 5.

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