Faith communities online: Christian churches' reactions to the COVID-19 outbreak
by Anthony-Paul Cooper; Ilkka Jormanainen; Annastasia Shipepe; Erkki Sutinen
International Journal of Web Based Communities (IJWBC), Vol. 17, No. 2, 2021

Abstract: The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus as a global pandemic has challenged the operations of faith communities around the world. Contrary to secular communities, faith communities need to base their actions on theological arguments. Normally, at least in the mainline churches, theological reflections and related decision making follow a strictly regulated hierarchical process that was not possible when refining novel modes of actions required by the pandemic and governmental legislation. It seems that, hence, it was not the central administration that was in charge, but rather congregations and smaller groups that were proactive in shifting and modernising their operations. This saw individual congregations transforming to faith-based online communities almost overnight, gathering participants well beyond conventional physical events. The fact that the virus outbreak overlapped with the important Easter season, normally attracting people to attend church services even in secularised countries, enriches the analysis.

Online publication date: Thu, 22-Apr-2021

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