Digital church is here to stay, according to new study

Sep 30, 2021 by

by Heather Preston, Premier:

A new report suggests that despite their challenges, online worship services are here for the long term as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Research from Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Chester has found that Covid-19 has accelerated a trend towards a more digital religious experience.

The study, British Ritual Innovation under Covid 19, surveyed hundreds of members of the public and clergy on their perceptions of religious life during the pandemic.

Its findings reveal that online worship and the celebration of life events such as marriage and funerals were exceptionally difficult for religious communities under coronavirus restrictions.

Lead researcher Joshua Edelman tells Premier this put a real strain on congregations and clergy.

“For a lot of people there is a real sense of loss, and the central thing seems to be a loss of community, of worship being something we do together.”

Although worshippers found digital services more challenging during the pandemic, the study suggests that online attendances were higher and that a wider range of people had access to online meetings, including those who could not or did not want to attend a physical church.

Edelman suggests that churches need embrace this new hybrid of both digital and physical church settings moving forward.

Read here

see also: BBC News reports a non-existent religious revivalby Freddie Sayers, UnHerd: A poll suggested a boom in religiosity among young people — but it’s not true.


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