- Title: German priest finds way for worshippers to "attend" Easter service
- Date: 11th April 2020
- Summary: GIESLER TALKING TO WORSHIPPERS' PICTURES AT CHURCH VARIOUS OF CHURCH SERVICE IN PROGRESS GIESLER DURING INTERVIEW / PICTURES OF WORSHIPPERS (SOUNDBITE) (German) PRIEST, JOACHIM GIESLER, SAYING: "We usually don't have as many people at church as the number of pictures we have today. This week alone we got another 150 pictures. That makes more than 1000 people in the pictures, and that number would just not fit into the church unless they stood up. The church is rarely so full. But the fact that there were so many taking part in this shows that many people want to take part in the church service because something important is missing right now." CAMERA FILMING VARIOUS OF PORTRAITS OF WORSHIPPERS (SOUNDBITE) (German) PRIEST, JOACHIM GIESLER, SAYING: "It was a bit weird in the beginning. Standing at the altar and looking at the empty pews, only with pictures on them, you can hardly imagine how people watch from home - if somebody does. The closeness and personal contact to people are missing, of course. But having heard the feedback from many in the past two weeks about how they feel this is a good alternative for them that truly includes them in the service, makes it easier for us."
- Keywords: WORSHIPPERS IN GERMANY SUNDAY HOMILY ONLINE DUE TO CORONAVIRUS SOCIAL DISTANCING
- Reuters ID: LVA004C96QX5L
- Location: ACHERN, GERMANY
- City: ACHERN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Duration: 00:02:01
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: Worshippers in Germany have been encouraged to follow their Easter Sunday homily online this year amid calls for social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, but a priest in the town of Achern has found a way to make them "present" during service.
Joachim Giesler, priest at the Parish Church of our Lady, asked all of his regular churchgoers over the past weeks to send him a digital picture of themselves and their families.
He received about 150 images picturing both individuals and families and printed them out and stuck them to the church pews. In that way, he said, he could conduct mass "normally" and they could still "attend" the Sunday homily (April 5) online while at home.
The priest counted about 1,000 people in total and said he had never experienced that number of attendees in real life.
The Bohnert family regularly attends mass in his church, including the little ones in the family. They own a vineyard in the area and have set up a TV to be able to follow service all together.
Seeing the rest of the church community via the live stream gives them comfort, the Bohnert family said.
The shift to digital worship has touched multiple faith communities, forcing mosques, churches, synagogues and Buddhist temples, among others, to roll out contingency plans.
Easter is one of Christianity's most significant celebrations, marked by a weekend that commemorates the last supper, the crucifixion and the resurrection.
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