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Report shows Pentecostals most impacted by COVID19
PARRAMATTA, NSW — A report into the impact of COVID19 on churches has revealed, that out of all denominations, Pentecostal congregations have been the most adversely affected.
Professor of Ecclesial Sociology, Gideon Ehud, released the report ‘Social distancing in the Sanctuary’ on Monday and expanded on his findings:
‘Our figures showed that of all denominations, it was the Pentecostals who were most affected by the isolation and social distancing measures which restricted Australian communities’ Professor Ehud explained. ‘This is partly due to the fact the church attendance rate is far higher for Pentecostals – some who normally attend their church services 6 or 7 times in a single weekend.’
Professor Ehud also indicated that even when a relaxation of restrictions came into play, Pentecostal churches would likely be the last to return to their usual service structures.
‘Social distancing is particularly difficult within Pentecostal churches due to the commonality of large, close contact and often sweaty worship services. Added to this is the frequent laying on of – often unsanitised – hands, a strong contingent of physically affectionate parishioners, and the prevailing technique of preachers shouting which increases the risk of spreading airborne saliva across the first several rows.’
The Professor went on to demonstrate that some denominations would have a far easier time complying with social distancing guidelines as they return their services due to current cultures and practices.
‘North Sydney Anglicans, for example, should not have any difficulties as their worship is relatively restrained within a proximity, and there will rarely be any actual physical contact between parishioners for the entire church service period. Likewise, Uniting churches should have no problems with maintaining 1.5m in their seating plans due to the ratio of space in relation to actual attendance. Though, the average age of 86.5 does mean most parishioners would be more vulnerable.’