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British Ritual Innovation under Covid-19

by Michael Ford last modified 06 Nov, 2020 11:28 PM

With our churches having to adapt to new social conditions, and success being demonstrated, academic interest is continuing to grow.

Many of our parishes, and in other dioceses, have reached new audiences through a combination of online services, brand-new resources, and determined networking using phones and person-to-person networking.

Services have had to be adapted, standard practices have had to be put on hold, and reaching those with no access to, or interest in technology has been a challenge to meet.

Into this picture comes a research project to examines the impact of the pandemic on ritual and religious life in Britain, across all denominations and religions.

'Social Distance, Digital Congregation: British Ritual Innovation under Covid-19' is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and examines how British religious communities have adapted to the Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions it has imposed.

Dr Katja Stuerzenhofecker is a Research Assistant in the Department of Theology & Religious Studies at the University of Chester.

She says:

"The project aims to document, analyse, and understand the new ways that religious communities are coming together, and to use those findings to help make religious communities stronger and more resilient for the future.

"We are trying to reach as many people as possible asking them to share their experiences.

"This survey will build on research done within Anglican communities already (ie the Coronavirus, Church and You survey), but our data will offer new insights into what makes religious gatherings or rituals work best in online (or Covid-safe) formats.

"We hope it will also provide an archive of the enormous creativity and resilience of religious communities during these difficult times. We have much to learn from each other and we will be hosting a discussion of our findings at some point next year."

For more information, and to take the survey, click here.

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