One result of the pandemic has been restrictions on people’s movement, ranging from requests to full lockdowns. These restrictions have inhibited people from gathering, including at places of worship. In this area we have restrictions as to how many people can be present in a place, including a place of worship. In our parish about half of the pews are roped off, and the ones in use require empty space between groups.
Many people cannot attend religious services during this pandemic, or they can only attend services on a limited basis. This brings up two possibilities, will they come back or are will they not? If we consider what happened in many countries that restricted religion during Communist times, when the people were allowed access to religion later many had preserved their spiritual faith underground and returned to the churches.
One alarming situation is that few people are bringing young children to religious services, children old enough to be in church, thus interrupting their formative years. Will there be a lingering negative effect on the children years from now whereby they think not attending church is as it should be?
Another problem is that the attendance at services is decreasing as new waves of the virus pass.
After the virus passes, will the pews be fuller or less filled than they were before the pandemic?