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.

Other stories of religion and resilience during COVID-19

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

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints - Wyndham Stake