Canada faithful turn to 'God Pod' as church services resume


By Agency
  • People
  • Saturday, 03 Oct 2020

Pastor Crouse (right) of Saint John Lutheran Church chats with a parishioner in a see-through enclosed compartment called the "God Pod" in Ottawa, Canada. Photo: AFP

As in-person religious services start resuming in Canada after a pandemic lockdown forced many churches to close, one Ottawa parish is offering its congregation a unique way to connect with their faith – in a "God Pod."

The four-by-six-foot (1.2m x 1.8m) glass compartment with a partition between two sides and an air filtration system to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, was unveiled to the public two weeks ago at the Saint John Lutheran Church in Ottawa's New Edinburgh neighbourhood.

Pastor Reverend Joel Crouse, who gave the donated pod its nickname, said it has allowed parishioners to connect safely in these difficult times.

"During this pandemic, many people have felt isolated and lonely. We've missed simply being together, to sit and listen. We're always wondering if it's safe," he told AFP.

"The God Pod resolves all of the logistical issues – sitting too close, or having to wear a mask," he said.

"One parishioner said it was great just to be able to laugh out loud (in the pod) without worrying about spreading the coronavirus."

A recent uptick in the number of new Covid-19 cases in Ontario province – which, along with Quebec, account for the most coronavirus deaths in the country – has been blamed in part on religious gatherings, including a Toronto wedding that led to a cluster of new infections. As of September 30,9, 290 deaths across Canada have been linked to Covid-19, out of 156,960 confirmed cases.

Hard on the soul

Most parishes are now limiting seating for church services.

Crouse said the "God Pod" is wiped down and disinfected after each use, in accordance with public health guidelines.

Its use is by appointment only. But all – pious and non-believers alike – are welcome to give it a try.

The prototype was designed and built by SnapCab, an Ontario company that makes enclosed office spaces. It is now ramping up production of the pods to sell.

The pod has been used for prayer, but also for casual meetings as well as grief and marriage counselling sessions.

A grandmother with terminal cancer used it to see her grandchild, and another woman availed herself of it to chat with her sister who is in a separate small group or "bubble" of people with whom each are allowed close contacts under government rules.

Isabelle Geraets-Rose told broadcaster CTV that her spirit suffered during the pandemic without regular contact with her congregation.

She tried the pod at Crouse's urging, telling CTV she quickly realised just "how much I missed seeing him and getting so much off my chest. The fact there was no mask and the glass was there, you really felt like you were free and safe."

The pastor said the pod also makes it easier for him to read non-verbal communications, including facial expressions, body posture and intonation.

"Psychiatrists, social workers and pastors, we're all trained to read those cues from people," he said. "You can't do that through a mask or over the phone, and not always very well on Zoom."

"At a time of elevated stress, it's especially hard." – AFP Relaxnews

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

parishioner , God Pod , church service , Canadians

   

Did you find this article insightful?

Yes
No

Next In People

Malaysians in need get Spoonfuls of Hope from local restaurateur
Mahjong pineapple tarts, anyone? Two Malaysians add festive cheer to CNY treats
New normal practices mute the world for the hard of hearing
Greta Thunberg wishes 'old man' Trump a 'wonderful future'
Here's why tolerance for German churches that offer asylum to refugees is dwindling
This wristwatch repairman in Baghdad is a timeless treasure
How secretive graffiti artist Banksy is illustrating the Covid-19 crisis
Malaysian teen wins silver award in Queen’s Commonwealth essay writing competition
Video of Malaysian healthcare workers singing 'Kau Ilhamku' goes viral
MCO: Malaysian writer plans to brush up on her Korean language skills

Stories You'll Enjoy


-->