Religious groups are embracing technology during the lockdown, but can it replace human connection?

Online Prayer Service

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced religious congregations to stay at home after the doors have been closed to their churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and gurdwaras across Australia.

But religious life has not stopped. Congregations are discovering new ways to meet virtually on plenty of online video platforms.

Google searches for the word “prayer” have skyrocketed in recent months, apparently in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, for one, said his “prayer knees were getting a good workout” as he prayed for the nation and for religious communities facing the closure of sacred meeting spaces due to the pandemic.

Read more

Ramadan Focuses Debates on How Religious Practices are Affected by the COVID-19 Crisis

muslim child with face maskDebates began even before the start of Ramadan, and they continue, about how standard practices and especially prayer are affected during the holy month. Al-Jazeera has reported that scholars have generally agreed that Friday prayers should be conducted from home; this has happened as mosques have closed around the world in the past two months.

Read more

Keeping Community Alive During COVID-19: Baha’i Initiatives

Baha'i InternationalFrom Italy to India, Australia to the United States, and in communities across the global, restrictions on gathering because of physical distancing restrictions present challenges that different communities are meeting in ways that are both traditional and new. The Baha’i community offers some examples.

Read more

Ramadan lectures in Australia will move online due to coronavirus, but prayers won’t.

ANIC OnlineAs mosques are closed due to coronavirus restrictions, Australia’s Muslim leaders are set to host online seminars and lectures during Ramadan. However, prayers will not be observed online. Two of Australia’s most senior Islamic leaders tell us why.

Read more

During Ramadan in isolation, Muslims get creative to preserve community

Rawalpindi Mosque, Pakistan

(Religion News Service) — The holy month of Ramadan, observed by fasting from dawn to dusk, has many themes: sacrifice, discipline, devotion, empathy, gratitude, generosity.

But for many Muslim communities, what defines Ramadan, which begins this week, are the moments of community: sharing platters of dates to break their fasts, the call to prayer reverberating through the halls of packed mosques, filling empty stomachs with mouthwatering nightly meals known as iftars — plates piled high with the black Muslim staple bean pie, South Asian samosas and maqluba in Arab traditions — the charitable zakat collections and the never-ending mosque fund-raising pitches.

It is the coming together, many Muslims say, that builds a heightened sense of spirituality, individually and communally.

Read more

Leading in the New Normal of a Pandemic World

Leading in the New Normal of a Pandemic World is an intensive dialogue between religious leaders and scholars on the intersectional nature of “Leadership” in and beyond a time of pandemic. This conversation will be live-streamed Tuesday, 28 April 2020 | 8:00 am – 10:00 am ET.

Read more

Addressing the Covid-19 Pandemic: Religions for Peace and UNICEF in Partnership

Joint Logo - Religions for Peace and UNICEF

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with an unprecedented global challenge, touching every community in every nation of the world. The pandemic is causing systems of work, education, finance and domestic lives to grind to a halt, affecting nearly every aspect of people’s lives.

Religions for Peace (RfP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), are joining forces to launch a global Multi-Religious Faith-in-Action Covid-19 Initiative to raise awareness of the impacts of this pandemic on the world’s youngest citizens.

The Initiative reflects the unique and critical roles played by religious leaders and actor, in influencing values, attitudes, behaviours and actions that affect the development and wellbeing of the world’s children. The Initiative will be coordinated by the global partnership on Faith and Positive Change for Children, Families and Communities , which involves Religions for Peace’s Interreligious Councils, including senior leaders of the world’s religious and spiritual traditions in South East Asia, known as Religions for Peace Asia.

What follows is the first regional webinar of member bodies of Religions for Peace Asia and officers from UNICEF in discussing the Multi-Religious Faith-in-Action Covid-19 Initiative.

Read more

A Jewish Psychologist’s Guidance for Talking About Coronavirus with Kids

Parent and childParents often assume that kids aren’t really listening, when, in reality, what children hear second-hand often leads to misunderstandings and misperceptions that raise their anxiety. Parents might think about shielding children, as much as possible, from broadcast news because media outlets tend to be sensational, which can be very alarming to children. Young children can’t distinguish between reality and fantasy – another reason to stay clear of scary broadcasts.

Read more

Ethical and Legal Implications of Navigating a Public Health Emergency in the Wake of the Covid-19 Pandemic

UNESCO Logo This report summarizes a global panel discussion webinar in the wake of COVID-19 held on Sunday night (Melbourne time), 19th April under the sponsorship of the Department of Education’s UNESCO Chair in Bioethics located at the University of Haifa which works to encourage the teaching of bioethics in medical and health sciences and law courses across the world. It was stated that there were competing sources of moral authority.

Read more

Ramadan Messages in the time of Coronavirus – 13 Languages

Ramadan Message in time of Covid-19Ramadan Mubarak to our Muslim friends and colleagues. Our thoughts are to you and your families during this challenging time. The Victorian Government has prepared radio (audio) messages in 13 languages about Ramadan for individuals and communities to share during this holy time on the importance of managing Coronavirus together.

Read more