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Month in Review - March 2020

Published April 03, 2020 by Tara Zammit

March 2020 proved to be an interesting month here at the Woolf Institute as we moved to working remotely. We hope that you are all keeping well and staying safe wherever you are.

March saw the publication of nine new blogs on our website with topics ranging from the art of podcasting to pro-diversity activism in Nashville. Two of these blogs are specifically related to religious practice and Covid-19: Christopher Wadibia's research on Pentecostalism and social engagement in Nigeria and Dr John Mueller's discussions with Christian religious leaders in the UK.

We also launched our new series #WoolfWatch where we provide home entertainment recommendations to help you pass the time while isolating and social distancing. Check out our most recent choice of videos, podcasts, blogs and research here.

Before the period of social distancing came into effect, Dr John Mueller began a cycle pilgrimage from Cambridge to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. John is our Alumni and Supporter Relations Manager and a Director of Studies in History at St Edmund's College, Cambridge. Although his journey was cut short, John captured some beautiful images of the journey to various Christian sites along the route in Cambridge, Bury St Edmunds and Watton.

Until recently, Woolf Institute PhD Scholar Samuel (Sam) Victor was completing fieldwork in Nashville. For this Month in Review, he offers a reflection on the way the church he is researching has adapted its practices during the pandemic:

From one week to the next in mid-March, the church in Nashville, Tennessee where I am currently doing fieldwork went from a vibrant full house to a dark TV studio-like setting as their worship services moved to an online live stream. It is the first time in the congregation's nearly 100 year history that they have not gathered for more than one consecutive week, and they must maintain their social distance indefinitely.

Since the United States awoke to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing measures have required places of worship to improvise new ways of sustaining communal relations. For Christians in Tennessee, this includes live streaming, video conferencing, drive-thru communion, and even drive-in cinema-style worship services.

Sam is now teaching on the online course Religion is... with Tara Zammit. The call for applications in March was a great success and we are thrilled to be welcoming over 70 students to the course which we are offering free of charge due to the impact of Covid-19. Students are joining us virtually from Canada, France, India, Montenegro, Kenya, Pakistan, the United States and many more places around the world! Applications have now closed and the course officially commences on April 6. Learn more about our online courses here.

We were very pleased this month to receive a warm letter of support from HRH The Princess Royal, our Royal Patron and an admirer of our work. You can view the letter here.

That’s a wrap for March 2020! Stay tuned for updates on our work and research and make sure to follow us on social media for more information about virtual lectures, videos, podcasts and more.

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