Title: Germany’s Christian churches in meltdown
Easter is the most important festival in the Christian calendar. Traditionally, churches across Germany and in many other countries around the world would be full of worshippers, many of whom might only otherwise set foot in a church once or twice a year.
Easter in the time of COVID-19 and nothing is the same as usual in Germany’s 14,000 Protestant and almost 10,000 Catholic parishes.
In a “normal year” nearly all of them would celebrate Easter Night, marking the resurrection of Jesus. There would be Easter fires in front of churches. And inside, worshippers would gather in hearty song.
For now, though, the fires are not permitted and only a small number of the usual congregation are allowed to take a seat on church pews. Also, there is no more singing due to the danger of aerosol transmission of the virus. The joy and jubilation that are normally such a feature of Easter festivities must this year be expressed in quietly-spoken words.
Just a week ago, Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, the head of Germany’s Protestant Lutheran Church, stated during a digital press conference that there is “no reason” to doubt in the significance of church services, adding that: “The hygiene concepts drawn up by the churches have been shown to function.”