Ministers are taking services to the masses during Covid-19
GATHERING with others and nurturing faith and spirituality might be something many people are craving right now.
While churches can't open right now, the Byron Shire Uniting Churches are still connecting with their flock.
Reverends Phil and Greer Dokmanovic began streaming services online in late March as gatherings were being restricted.
Rev Phil said it was a completely new experience for them.
"We'd never actually done that before," he said.
"I know some other contemporary churches have streamed their service as normal. We've always just done it face-to-face so it's new for us."
Along with their Sunday service, they're running two "daily office" sessions at 9am and 3pm each day to check in and they've been helping some elderly members of the church community who weren't on social media to sign up.
"I think it's been crucial, particularly in terms of people's spirituality and faith. It's a big part of who we are whether we are part of a church community," he said.
"We know it's been really valuable for people to continue to gather for worship in a new way."
His wife, Rev Greer, has meanwhile been running "embody" sessions via video conferencing app Zoom.
Local community members tuning in for their live services have been joined by people from around the world, Rev Phil said.
"It's led to amazing connections … to a wider community in this time," he said.
"I think for a lot of people it's been a grief they have to sit with … I think a big thing in terms of our faith community is this idea of hope.
"It's something we all need, a sense of hope for the future. People have found a sense of hope even though at times it's felt a bit hopeless."
He said this process had also allowed them to deepen connections with some who had been unable to attend church prior to the pandemic due to health issues, so it's likely they'll explore how technology can help them long after Covid-19 has passed.
"There's definitely a sense of privilege in being able to still remain connected and to be able to lead our community in this time and to be able to offer some hope and inspiration in a season when people feel they're in the wilderness," he said.
Find Brunswick Valley Uniting Church on Facebook.