Australia (9news)

How Aussie Christians are celebrating Easter amid the coronavirus pandemic

By May 28, 2020 No Comments
Easter is a starkly different one today for Christians, who are adapting to celebrate their most important festival amidst social distancing restrictions.
Instead of bustling church attendance, worship bands and communal meals, many will sit in front of a screen at home to quietly remember a momentous gathering about 2000 years ago.
Brisbane’s Catholic archbishop Mark Coleridge delivers a Good Friday mass to an empty St Stephen’s cathedral in Brisbane.(AP)
At this gathering, the bible says the resurrected Jesus appeared to the disciples. Christians believe Jesus died for the sins of the world and rose to defeat death, giving hope for a new life with God.
In Melbourne’s inner north, Merri Creek Anglican church pastor Peter Carolane will sit in his living room and deliver an Easter message via Facebook Live. 
Bishop Richard Umbers is seen live-streaming during ‘The Celebration of the Passion of The Lord’ service at St Paul of the Cross Church on April 10, 2020 in Dulwich Hill, Australia.(Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)
While in-person church gatherings offer formality and structure Reverend Carolane has chosen a different style on camera.
“We’ve tried to tone down the energy levels to try to make it more intimate,” Rev Carolane told AAP.
He has upped his technology skills in the last few weeks to improve his offering, such as skyping other people into the stream and adding prerecorded video. 
As Christians celebrate this Easter, some church leaders are rising to the challenge of banned gatherings while others feel a sense of grief.(AP)
Some church members will video conference in small groups for morning tea afterwards. 
Rev Carolane was encouraged by a large online audience on Good Friday, including those who are not ordinarily church-goers.
“I feel like, as people are realising they’re not in control of their own lives like they thought they were, and western liberal democracies have not got all the answers, that people are thinking about what really matters in a new kind of way,” he said.
Not all church leaders have found it easy to adapt. 
Anglican parish priest Steve Weickhardt in Port Lincoln, South Australia said he felt a “really deep grief” about Easter this year. 
“Easter day is a real blow,” he told AAP.
“That’s our DNA.”
Instead of bustling church attendance, worship bands and communal meals, many will sit in front of a screen at home to quietly remember a momentous gathering about 2000 years ago.(AP)
He will not provide an online service for his 40 elderly congregants, but has pointed them to online services run by other churches. 
Instead he will ring the church bell at 9am and they will know he is sitting down to pray for them. 
Catholics in the Sandhurst diocese of regional Victoria will be able to tune in online to a service livestreamed out of a church building.
Chair of the Bendigo Interfaith Council and retired priest Monsignor Frank Marriot told AAP the viewing numbers of online mass so far had been pleasing. 
At 82, Monsignor Marriott said he’d done well to navigate the Zoom video conferencing program for church meetings. 
In his Easter message on Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Christians should live out their faith by abiding by social distancing restrictions and looking after their community and loved ones.
Tops tips for minimizing coronavirus transmission.(9News)

Coronavirus: what you need to know

What is the difference between COVID-19 and the flu?
The symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu are very similar, as they both can cause fever and respiratory issues.
Both infections are also transmitted the same way, via coughing or sneezing, or by contact with hands, surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus.
The speed of transmission and the severity of the infection are the key differences between COVID-19 and the flu.
The time from infection to the appearance of symptoms is typically shorter with the flu. However, there are higher proportions of severe and critical COVID-19 infections.
Key information about the coronavirus pandemic.(9News)
What is social distancing?
Social distancing involved minimising contact with people and maintaining a distance of over one metre between you and others.
When practicing social distancing, you should avoid public transport, limit non-essential travel, work from home and skip large gatherings.
It is okay to go outdoors. However, when you do leave home, avoid touching your face and frequently wash your hands.
For breaking news alerts and livestreams straight to your smartphone sign up to the9News appand set notifications to on at theApp StoreorGoogle Play.You can also get up-to-date information from the Federal Government’s Coronavirus Australia app, available on the App StoreGoogle Playand theGovernment’s WhatsApp channel.
Reported with AAP.
© AAP 2020
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