Field Reports on Religious Life in the Time of COVID-19


  • Peter Bush St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Fergus, Ontario,
  • Eileen D. Crowley Catholic Theological Union, Chicago
  • Douglas Frimpong-Nnuroh Klintaps College of Health Sciences
  • Katharina Pewny Birdyoga
  • Ponn P. Mahayosnand Ronin Institute
  • Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen Stockholm University
  • Lena Sjöstrand Lund Cathedral
  • Maysa Utairat Mahasarakham University
  • Tina Weiss Yeshiva University, USA


COVID-19, Ritual practice, Communal worship, Religious practice


We have for you a set of short field reports on the ways in which religious (and, in one case, theatrical) life has continued and changed in the time of the pandemic. These reports shed light on the resillence of religious life across the world. This pandemic has been an assault both on the bare biological basis of our lives and the social fabric that makes them livable. Taken together, these reports shed light on how that assault has highlighted bothour common humanity and our social diatance from one another. They also hint at new possibilities for the ways that our religious and spiritual lives might be lived and peformed in the future, ways we are only beginning to understand.

Author Biographies

Peter Bush, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Fergus, Ontario,

Peter Bush is teaching elder at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Fergus, Ontario, where he preaches and leads worship on a regular basis. He has been a congregational pastor for the last 31 years, serving congregations in Ontario and Manitoba. He served as Moderator of the General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church in Canada, 2017-2018. Peter has written about worship in rural congregations and the renewal of congregational life.

Eileen D. Crowley, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago

Eileen D. Crowley, Ph.D., recently retired as Associate Professor of Liturgy, Arts and Communications at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago where she taught ministry students from 2004 to 2020. She earned an M.A. in Theology (Liturgical Studies) from the University of Notre Dame (Indiana) and a Ph.D. in Theology (Worship and Preaching Studies) from Union Theological Union in New York City. She is the author of A Moving Word: Media Art in Worship (Minneapolis, Minn.: Augsburg Fortress: 2006), Liturgical Arts for a Media Culture (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 2007), and scores of other articles and scholarly essays about the intersection of liturgy and media arts, as well as other subjects.

Douglas Frimpong-Nnuroh , Klintaps College of Health Sciences


Douglas Frimpong-Nnuroh is Registrar, Klintaps College of Health Sciences, Klagon Accra, who lectured at CAIS, UCC, Cape Coast, August 2006 to July 2020. He is a trained Africanist from IAS, UG, Legon 2001. He studied Gender and Development, UiB, Norway in 2004. He also studied at AISSR, UvA, Amsterdam in 2012. He has publications on Ellembelle Nzema lore and social geography. Douglas Frimpong-Nnuroh was Consultant on the Kormantse Archaeological Research Programme (KARP) in 2010 and also Consultant to Jhpiego STAR CHPS Household Survey in 2015. He is a keen football enthusiast and the Arsenal Manager in Ghana. He is married with adult children and a grandfather.

Katharina Pewny, Birdyoga

Katharina Pewny dr. habil., conducted a research project on Spirituality, Theatre, and Performance, at Ghent University, Belgium (2016-2019), funded by the Flemish Research Funds. A main research outcome is her teaching of yoga. Now she lives in Berlin, Germany, and specializes in inclusive and accessible yoga. She teaches individuals, small and large groups (conference yoga).

Ponn P. Mahayosnand , Ronin Institute

Ponn P. Mahayosnand is a Research Scholar at Ronin Institute. She is a public health researcher focusing on Islam and Health, preventive and lifestyle medicine as it relates to Tibb al-Nabawi (medicine of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him), and health in Gaza, Palestine. She earned her B.S. in Biology, minor in Environmental Health, concentration in Health Policy and Management from Providence College, and M.P.H. from the University of Connecticut. Having embraced Islam twenty-two years ago, she opened or helped operate a full-time and multiple part-time Islamic schools or programs in three states.

Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen, Stockholm University

Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen is communications editor of Performance, Religion and Spirituality. He holds a PhD in theatre studies from Stockholm University. He is currently a lecturer at Stockholm University.  With the International Federation for Theatre Research elected ExComm member and cofounder of the working group Performance, Spirituality and Religion. Research interests: cosmo-aesthetics; science exposition; spirituality; ecology; contemporary staged events; ritual; performance art; intermediality; performance analysis; dramaturgy. Recent publications: “The Role of Dystopian Art in the Climate Crisis”, Peripeti 17 (32) 2020, 32-34; with Daria Skjoldager-Nielsen, “Para-Anthropo(s)cene Aesthetics Between Despair and Beauty: A Matter of Respons-Ability”, Nordic Theatre Studies 32 (1) 2020, 44-65.

Lena Sjöstrand, Lund Cathedral

Lena Sjöstrand is senior Cathedral Chaplain and staff manager in Lund Cathedral. Shaping the liturgy is one of her tasks. Lena is responsible for the dialogue between arts and church in the Cathedral and she is curating exhibitions of contemporary art. She has been involved in the group of Church players, performing liturgical drama in a blending of liturgy and theatre. The objective of her thesis from 2011 at the University of Copenhagen, More than signs: Atmosphere, meanings and liturgical bodies, is to describe, analyse and discuss what it is that takes place within and between people´s bodies in performative practices such as church services, church drama and theatre.

Maysa Utairat, Mahasarakham University

Maysa Utairat is currently purusing a PhD on the adaptation of Buddhist storytelling based on secular Buddhism and the individuality of Thai young performers and audience members. Recently, she had been focusing my practice-based research on creating a theatrical piece that enhances the spirituality of the audience in Buddhist storytelling ritual. She received a Masters of Philosophy in Drama and Theatre Studies from Royal Holloway, University of London in 2019, and a Masters in Advanced Theatre Practice at the Royal Central School of Speech and Dram, Univiersity of London, in 2006. She is founder and lecturer of the drama major at the Department of Performing Arts, Mahasarakham University, Thailand. At the moment, she is devising theatre pieces with young performers, audience members and communities in sacred and secular spaces and atmosphere. 

Tina Weiss, Yeshiva University, USA

Tina Weiss is Head Librarian of Hebraica-Judaica at the Mendel Gottesman Library at Yeshiva University in New York and previously served as librarian at the Klau Library at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York.  She earned her M.B.A. at SUNY Oswego, M.L.S. at Queens College and has studied modern Jewish history at Yeshiva University.


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