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New research project to investigate how online shift affected religion in Europe

by Sophie Drew

A new research project is set to investigate how the Covid-19 pandemic affected "how European religion is done". 

The study will see scholars from seven European countries, with backgrounds in sociology or religion, anthropology, digital religion, performance studies and allied disciplines, investigate how the digital shift has affected churchgoers and churches alike. 

They will be pulling resources from a number of notable religious institutes including The Standing Conference of Jews, Christians and Muslims in Europe, and the Council of Christians and Jews.

Particular attention will be played to the digitalisation of religious life in Europe, and the consequences of the rapid shift to online services and resources. 

The digitalisation of the church remains a contentious subject; recently, the Salvation Army suggested the move online has alienated older Christians.

However, elsewhere churches have made their online ministry a priority, seeing it as a useful tool for evangelism, targeting communities that do not usually attend church.

Dr Joshua Edelman, reader in Drama and Contemporary Performance at Manchester Metropolitan University, will be leading the study. 

Previously, Dr Elman led a research project examining how the pandemic affected British religious life in the early days.

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