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The role of faith during the coronavirus pandemic | Discover

Adapting to the ‘new normal’

Many faith groups have turned to digital technologies to allow them to connect with their communities and pray together. But that’s not always as easy as it sounds.

“All of our regular worship and all our regular activities had to be rethought,” says Doreen, 69, who identifies as Orthodox Jewish. Our synagogue was unable to move its Sabbath services and festival services online because we don’t use technology on Shabbat so that was a huge problem for us. A lot of rabbis, supported by the professional staff at head office, began moving other services and communal activities online so that people could feel that they still had a link.”

Talat has noticed both positives and negatives from the move to online technology. “A positive impact of all of this has been for the older ladies. They are using technology I never expected them to be able to use. They’re having regular Zoom sessions with the education team and they’re loving it. OK, it’s not face to face, but at least it’s virtually face to face over a screen. For the men, it’s been different. Men have a different style of communication. They are not as openly chatty as the ladies. For them, it’s been quite difficult.”

“No one knows what will happen going forward,” says Rajinder, 74, a Sikh. “But COVID is here and will be here in the future. We need to adapt, be sensible and support one another through love and being kind. Keep the faith, pray and meditate. God will look after us and we will get through this.” 

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