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Research statementExecutive Summary
The aim of this project was to (1) explore how parishioners have experienced moments of hope and grace in their faith communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, and (2) investigate how those moments have contributed to building their sense of resilience. Participants over the age of 18 from Catholic, Anglican, Uniting Church, Baptist, and Pentecostal/Evangelical faith communities in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne were invited to participate in the study. The data collection comprised two methods—an online anonymous Qualtrics survey containing closed and open questions, and the option for an interview either in person, via Zoom, over the telephone, or in a focus group. A total of 106 members of faith communities completed the online anonymous Qualtrics survey. Of the 106 participants, 22 people (16 females and six males) opted to be interviewed. Of the 22 interviewees, 16 were interviewed individually. They included 12 members of a faith community, one Pastor and three Priests. The remaining six of the 22 interviewees were selected to be interviewed as a focus group. The Qualtrics survey data was analysed using thematic analysis (TA). The interview data were analysed phenomenologically.
The findings indicate that these participants did experience moments of hope and grace during the COVID-19 pandemic and that these have contributed positively to building these participants’ sense of resilience. The findings of the survey and interview data are discussed under four overarching themes: Light at the end of the tunnel, Connection to God, God’s grace offers favour, and Building wellbeing and resilience. Each of these themes suggests that the participants found new and creative ways of practising their faith, maintaining connections with others, and attending to their own sense of wellbeing and resilience.
While there are limitations to this study, including the small sample size where participants were from Christian faith communities, and thus ge
Publication classificationA6 Research report/technical paper