By Josie Barton
Religious services and gatherings have been put on hold throughout the 2020-2021 pandemic. People are finding unique ways to communicate and engage with the church while still following national guidelines.
Thiel College Pastor Brian Riddle provides insight on religious gatherings and how they have been affected by pandemic regulations.
The national government passed regulations to protect people from large social gatherings, church being one of them. Many of these churches have taken the technological approach, holding their services online.
“It is a much easier way for people that are not physically able to attend church to still listen in on its services,” Riddle said.
Riddle has continued to hold his own religious services in person because of the large church and small student population who regularly attend.
When asked how people have responded to national health guidelines and regulations, Riddle brings up the issue with personal freedom.
Riddle says, “I see freedom not as the privilege to do whatever we want, but as freedom from our own personal issues, for example tyranny.”
Riddle believes followers of God have the responsibility to protect its neighbors, for example protecting citizens from exposure to the virus by wearing a mask.
The core value of faith is to comfort people that are suffering. It gives people an indication that the struggle that people have are common struggles. People have an obligation to protect others from danger.
“Faith is a matter of interpretation,” Riddle added.
Although in-person religious gatherings can be more interactive than services performed behind a screen, Riddle thinks that the online services should continue to be available to people who are physically unable to attend.