Due to the worldwide COVID-19 epidemic, several institutions have temporarily suspended their operations. In several countries and localities, governments have banned large public gatherings in order to promote social distancing. Aside from schools and businesses, religious denominations and organizations have also been affected by such measures. Due to this, they have suspended their prayer services and activities. However, for the religious and faithful, there are still avenues for you to practice your faith and attend worship services online.
For Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Mainline Protestants
This is for those wishing to view online Catholic masses, Orthodox divine liturgy services, Lutheran divine services, Anglican/Episcopal masses, Methodist services, Presbyterian services, etc. You may check with the website or social media platforms of your local church, diocese, metropolis, episcopal area or presbytery. Furthermore, you can also search online for lectionaries or daily and Sunday readings of the Bible, and updates on the liturgical calendar. Websites, such as EWTN, can also provide you with videos that will help you with your faith and daily life.
For Evangelicals/Born-Agains, Pentecostals, Messianic Jews, and Other Christians
You can check the website or social media platforms of your individual church or megachurch. Furthermore, your pastor, rabbi (for Messianic Jews) or small group leaders may have other announcements as well. When it comes to meetings with your small bible groups or Sunday School lessons, you may conduct them online through Skype, Facebook Messenger, Zoom, etc. You may also get your daily devotionals from websites, such as Our Daily Bread, and watch videos from platforms, such as RightNow Media.
FOR JEWS AND NOAHIDES
If you are Orthodox, you will be unable to attend Shabbat (Sabbath) services online from Friday evening to Saturday evening (the Halakhic prohibition on electricity during Shabbat). Instead, you can do tefillot (prayers) at home. On other days, you may check out Chabad.org for videos, explanations on parsha Bible readings, etc. If you are Conservative or Reform, you may check out the website or social media platforms of your synagogue for online services. Noahides can also conduct online meetings.
You can perform wudu or ritual washing in your bathroom and continue to do prayers or salat 5 times a day at home. During Friday or Jumu’ah, instead of attending the congregational prayer at the mosque, you can pray the dhur prayer in your place. You can also watch a live streamed or recorded khutbah or sermon from an imam online, along with a short Quran surah. There are several websites, videos and podcasts that are available online and can be accessed through search engines that can help you with your faith.
FOR BAHA’IS & DHARMIC RELIGIONS (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, & Sikhism)
Since there is no fixed schedule for prayers or schedules, you may check with the online websites and social media platforms of your temple, derasar, gurdwara, mashriqu’l-adhkár or organizations. Some groups have live-streamed sermons from pujaris, granthis, monks and priests. There are also many good websites that can help you with the texts (ex. The Vedas), philosophy (e.g. the Buddha’s teachings for Buddhists), meditation, practices leading to nirvana, good karma, moksha, the attainment of siddha or mukti, etc. For Baha’is, you can watch videos and listen to podcasts about the teachings of the Báb and the Baháʼu’lláh and Baha’i writings. Sikhs can also do the same with regard to the teachings of the Guru Nanak.
With that, we in AHEAD encourage our religious students and employees to continue to practice social distancing during prayers and religious practices. You can also watch live-streamed videos or do online meetings for your holiday observances and celebrations. We believe that there are still ways for you to live out your faith in hope despite the negative happenings. We hope that you stay safe and that you will be protected.