How can I keep from singing? Being the church amid the Covid-19 pandemic

Michael Earl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The disruption wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic has been the greatest global upheaval since the Second World War. All sectors have been forced to recalibrate their practices, including churches. Although practical concerns around worship, pastoral care, and missional activities have required extensive thought, considered theological reflection is also called for. In a context often resistant to change, theologically informed adaptation is critical, countering the temptation to prioritise mere functionality. In the past, the best Christian responses to pandemics have discerned them as 'vocational moments', kairos times where the faith's longstanding theological commitments were brought to bear in faithful practice. This article promotes a 'gentle witness' as one possible way the church might construe a response. As the prevailing mood is one of fear, isolation, loneliness, separation, a witness that comes alongside in loving presence, lament, solidarity, and care for Jesus' sake, incorporating a public face, commends itself as an appropriate 'way' for a public-facing church.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-24
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Public Theology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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