Church leaders across Scotland have made “remarkable adaptations” during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep worship going and serve their communities in new ways, a survey has found.
A new study records that 96 per cent of 369 congregational leaders spanning 27 different denominations continued with ministry and mission work despite restrictions on movement and the closure of church buildings.
Lockdown resulted in a dramatic rise in online worship and other content. Increased online and social media activity has allowed congregations and Church leaders to reach substantially more people than they did prior to the pandemic.
The report titled Adapt and be Flexible – the Mission Doesn’t Stop: The Scottish Church and the COVID-19 Pandemic concludes that leaders have been faithful to their calling, preaching the Word in season and out of season and witnessing to the love and faithfulness of God at a time of “unprecedented disruption and suffering.”
The report has made five recommendations to the Scottish Church.
- Online worship is here to stay, and must be adequately resourced
- Online worship must be adequately reflected upon
- The Scottish Church should not rush back to pre-lockdown ministry and mission
- Cross-denominational partnership in mission should be better understood and extended
- Further research into the social capital generated by the churches should be undertaken
The 46-page study is the product of a research partnership between Action of Churches Together in Scotland, Brendan Research and the Scottish Church Leaders’ Forum.
The Scottish Episcopal Church provided the second biggest number of responses to the survey, after the Church of Scotland, with a total of 46 submissions.