Fr Peter Tonti said the Bundaberg parish has adapted to challenging situations, but despite technology, human interaction was important. Picture: Chris Burns.
Fr Peter Tonti said the Bundaberg parish has adapted to challenging situations, but despite technology, human interaction was important. Picture: Chris Burns.

How Bundaberg churches are adapting to the pandemic

TWO Bundaberg church leaders said the reduced restrictions to 10 people a room still limits their ability to hold services.

They say despite the challenges they have managed to creatively adapt to the social isolation measures through technology.

Priest Peter Tonti said the Bundaberg parish has had "a bit of fun" learning to stream its services, and it will likely continue to use Zoom more in the future due to the distance of the diocese.

But the "human factor" of physical interaction was preferable, Fr Tonti said.

"We have learned a great deal about who we are in these sorts of situations, and the personal factor of it has been huge," he said.

"And the technology, okay, that's fantastic and we've learned a lot but by Jove we learned a lot about ourselves as well."

Fr Tonti said it had been difficult restricting attendance at funerals, and as of last week held three services.

"The 11th person has to not be there, and that makes it very hard to tell someone who is already in the church, 'sorry, the family has said you're not on their list', that sort of thing," he said.

"We haven't had weddings because the people that have wanted to get married have had to cancel them and that can be an expensive exercise.

"I've noticed some bookings but not until the September mark."

 

Pastor Errol Buckle said that connection without physical proximity could still happen. Picture: Mike Knott/NewsMail
Pastor Errol Buckle said that connection without physical proximity could still happen. Picture: Mike Knott/NewsMail

Heritage Christian Centre's senior Pastor, Errol Buckle, said the limitation of 10 people was small even for its home fellowship group.

Pastor Buckle said that even though the church was more than a building, members often appreciated physical connection such as handshakes, and hugs.

The absence of such had been difficult for churchgoers.

He did not use the phrase "social distancing", saying the community could still connect without physical proximity.

He said there were more views of the church's online services, than there had been people attending. "We have a number of people that aren't tech-savvy in our church … so we still run DVDs and CDs for them."


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