The coronavirus pandemic has forced people to alter their behaviour and act together to protect others from infection, says the provost of a church in Glasgow, Scotland, in an interview with the dpa.
CHRISTIAN clergy worldwide are exploring new ways to engage with their congregations amid lockdowns and social distancing.
Many have turned to the internet, including Kelvin Holdsworth, the provost of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow, a Scottish Episcopal church, which is part of the global Anglican Communion.
Holdsworth, 53, told dpa about his efforts to maintain contact with his congregation, his views on the moral issues surrounding the pandemic, and his message for Easter.
dpa: You said you’ve just been in another Zoom meeting?
That’s become the norm now. Many of the meetings that I’m used to having have been moving online. That means both business meetings where we’re trying to run things, but also pastoral meetings that I have as well.
dpa: What about your sermons? Are you still delivering them live?
We’re pre-recording them, actually. The first one that we did was (in an empty church) but since then my colleague and I have been recording things at home.
dpa: Has the feedback been good so far?
Yeah, it has. We’re a busy place, we have hundreds of people normally come to church, and we’ve got hundreds of people watching online now.
My working life for the last two weeks, I would say, has been busier than any other two weeks.
This is a very busy time for clergy, with this (lockdown) happening just before Easter. And to think that we can shift the whole church experience online … is extraordinary, (but) very tiring to do.
dpa: Have you discussed the coronavirus outbreak in your sermons?
We have. At the moment … I think the dominant feeling that people have is that they want the lockdown to be respected. Everybody hopes for an end to this and to at least try and find ways of minimising the deaths.
So the people that I know are all pretty solidly behind the message ‘stay at home’.
dpa: How does the church view the debate on how much to protect mainly elderly people from the coronavirus and how to balance that against longer term damage to the economy?
In the first sermon I preached after the lockdown, I said that one of the things I recognised was that seeing a whole society mobilised to try and protect the vulnerable was like seeing a modern miracle take place. And I think the church will always speak out for the vulnerable.
dpa: Do you have any Easter message that you’re going to deliver in your sermon, that you can share with us?
I would say that most of us presume that our lives will be easy and that Easter will be a joyful celebration in the middle of that.
But Easter has happened when countries have been at war, when people have been on the run, when people have been engaged in famine, when people are in prison. In all these times Easter still happens and the good news of Jesus rising from the dead comes to the people who need it most. That’s going to be my Easter message.