In Australia, religious communities were one part of society expressly impacted by the ‘lockdown’ directives introduced to stem the spread of the virus. On 29 March all places of religious worship were effectively closed by the restrictions that limited non-essential indoor gatherings to two people. Stories are now beginning to emerge about what it was like for these communities to lose their places of worship – for many, the centre of their social and spiritual lives. This essay describes the ramifications of the closure for some of Australia’s religious communities and considers what might be the long-term impact of the lockdown and our new social reality on the way these communities contribute to social cohesion in Australia.

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Auburn Gallipoli Mosque

Baha’i House of Worship, Sydney

Heathmont Baptist Church, Melbourne

St Kilda Hebrew Congregation

The Ark Centre

Melbourne Immanuel Baptist Church

Quang Minh Temple and the Vietnamese Buddhist community of Melbourne

How has COVID-19 and the closing of your place of worship impacted your religious community?

The Scanlon Foundation Research Institute is building a picture of how religious communities have adapted to having their places of worship closed and the new regulations that will govern their activities once they reopen.

We know every community is unique and we need your stories to help complete the picture.

Fill the form below or email tprentice@scanlonfoundation.org.au to share your religious community’s story.

You might include:

  • The name of your place of worship
  • What your group is like, such as how many people participate in services or activities, their age groups and ethnicity
  • The kind of activities you do together, such as services, community outreach programs, study groups or something else

You might include:

  • Anything you’ve had to stop doing
  • Activities you’ve had to move online
  • Ways restrictions have changed your religious practice

You might include: 

  • How people are coping and feeling
  • The biggest challenge you are facing
  • What you are planning around the easing of restrictions and reopening of your place of worship
  • Looking to the future, whether there will be permanent changes to how you do things