“When a crisis occurs, people question life, everybody is in this routine: work, home eat, sleep and nobody questions what’s happening and why they are doing this.”

RELIGIOUS organisations around Worcestershire have found innovative ways to adapt their services during lockdown restrictions.

Online meditation and faith seminars are part of the several programmes set up by the Hindu organisation; ISKCON Worcestershire.

The group also has a ‘Food for all’ and Krishna’s helpers’ platform to support vulnerable members of the community by collecting prescriptions and shopping.

ISKCON Instructor Madhumangal Agarwal said closing temples was an essential part of following government guidelines to avoid the spread of the virus.

“Out of sentiment we can say that we should meet but if your longevity is derailed, it’s better to do it on an online platform.”

“Normal life as we know it has ceased to exist, people are losing jobs and feeling stress, depression and anxiety because they are scared of the virus and the repercussions.

“We are focusing on trying to provide guidance from a more subtle spiritual consciousness perspective.”

ISKCON Instructor Nandini Agarwal said: “The online meditation and classes are so that the people don’t feel alone, and we are all supporting each other.

“When a crisis occurs, people question life, everybody is in this routine: work, home eat, sleep and nobody questions what’s happening and why they are doing this.

“This has given everybody an opportunity to stop, it’s given them time to go within and to question who we are and why we’re here.”

Image courtesy: Unsplash

The Very Reverend, Ray Khan has been the vicar at Bromsgrove’s St John’s Baptist Church for five years and says prioritising the most vulnerable community members is most important.

He has also noticed many more people attending online services and praying.

“We have identified people who are vulnerable and self-isolating, and we have a team of people who will ring them up to check that they are okay.

“We’re also communicating really well with our Church members, through email, online bible studies and live streaming prayer on Zoom.

St John’s volunteers are also making sure that the 70 plus age group is being cared for, which the Very Rev Kahn said is a testimony to the people of Bromsgrove and not just the Church.

Yvonne Stollard has been a member of the Birmingham Progressive Synagogue for the past 26 years as Worcestershire does not have any synagogues.

She said the local Jewish community has been taking the government’s restrictions very seriously as the religion centres around the preservation of life.

“In Worcestershire, there are very few Jewish people. All four synagogues in Birmingham have closed but they still have to carry on as organisations in some way or another.

“We’re using video conferencing for online meetings and Shabbat services and a short service on Friday evening, Saturday morning, and a Havdalah service celebrating the end of the Sabbath service.

“All the synagogue’s council members keep in regular touch with the community and we pay particular attention to those who are much older and vulnerable.”

The Muslim Community was also contacted in light of this story, but unfortunately their response exceeded the deadline of this article.

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