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‘There is light despite all of the darkness’: Exploring perceptions of faith and hope during the pandemic in Australian church settings
journal contributionposted on 2023-01-25, 04:06 authored by Dawn JosephDawn Joseph, Brendan Hyde
The pandemic and resulting stay-at-home orders since March 2020 have come at a high cost to lives and livelihoods around the globe including ways in which faith communities meet. This paper forms part of a wider study Exploring hope, grace, and resilience in parish communities in COVID-19 times. It investigates how members of Christian faith communities in Melbourne (Australia) made meaning of their understanding of hope during the pandemic. The authors draw on survey data gathered between November 2021 and mid-March 2022 and using thematic analysis they discuss two overarching themes (Light despite the darkness and Connection to God). While generalisations to other faith communities cannot be made, the findings indicate churches fostered hope and offered a sense of belonging. The paper discusses implications for ways in which churches can continue to build faith with church members and the wider community in the changing landscape of the pandemic.