Virtual a reality for religious organisations

Religions across Australia have adapted their ceremonies to allow people to celebrate their faith at home.

On March 23, the Western Australian Government released a statement declaring all places of worship will be closed until April 13.

Many religious groups in Australia are using technology to continue their services and meetings.

JCCWA President Joan Hillman says technology has been a way for the Jewish community to stay connected. Photo: Joan Hillman

Jewish Community Council of WA President Joan Hillman says worship has adapted for the current situation.

“We have to go by instructions from the government and medical professionals,” she says.

“People have set their table and have joined together with Zoom or Skype.”

While the transition for some had been easy, Ms Hillman says it’s been difficult for others.

“The hardest part for many people is the loneliness and isolation.

“Not everyone is happy with their own company.”

Ms Hillman says people may be more appreciative of their religion as a result of the isolation.

The Catholic Church will commence Easter celebrations including Good Friday on April 10.

A statement released by the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth says people wanting to celebrate will be able to livestream Easter ceremonies.

Campus minister of Sacred Heart College Christopher Kan says the isolation may help people rediscover their faith.

“We’ve had to have services where we’re not together in a physical sense.”

“It might help us value the coming together and celebrating the way we normally do.”

He says the level of technology at the school meant it was an easy transition into online religious learning.

“Both staff and students are skilled in using technology.”

“The human connection is very important but I believe we’ve been successful in trying to breach that gap.”

He says there have been opportunities online for students to practise religion through classes and a whole school reflection on the Easter mysteries.

Grow Ministries is a Lutheran organisation which has created Holy Week activity packs for families to celebrate their faith.

Grow Ministries director Jodi Brook comments on their Holy Week at Home Packs.
Video: Matt Paddick.

The organisation’s director Jodi Brook says the idea is based on helping everyone practise their faith while in isolation.

“A lot of families are at home.”

“We wanted to make available activities and ideas they could do at home around the theme of Holy Week.”

She says the packs allow for families to converse about faith openly.

Categories: COVID-19, General, Religion

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