As Taiwan extends its nationwide Level 3 epidemic-prevention measure to June 14, religious rites and rituals are forced to face a longer halt. How do Taiwan’s immigrant and migrant worker communities practice their religions during this time?
St Christopher‘s Church (聖多福天主堂) in Zhongshan, Taipei, has been a gathering place for new immigrants as well as migrant workers for many years.
The priest John Thiet said in an interview with the 4 way voice that the church has followed the government’s epidemic-prevention measures and postponed all physical activities since the local outbreak took place.
“If it is an event that cannot be postponed, we will use the Internet and broadcast it online”, he said.
John Thiet also mentioned that the church has set up a Facebook page dedicated to helping the Catholics, foreign students as well as migrant workers by providing online consultation for any questions or problems they might have.
“They are welcomed to message us regarding any concerns or difficulties”. The online Facebook page has been operating just well since it launched.
Mr. Lee, an Indonesian Christian who mainly worships at the Bread of Life Christian Church (台北靈糧堂) in Taipei said in an interview, “Considering the severity of the epidemic this year, all church services have been changed to online. The good thing about online meetings is that more people can join.’
The church is strict with the epidemic prevention measures, all prayers should leave contact information and have their temperature checked. As for the Sunday online gatherings, only 5 workers were required at the church to run the equipment.
The Taipei Mosque is also closed amid the pandemic, however, they keep in touch with the believers by posting the scriptures and the main sermon script on its Facebook page regularly.
Chen Shu-jen (陳淑貞), a priest from a Pingtung Christian Church (屏東滿洲信義會) who have served many Philippinos also said that she has turned to online meetings to hold prayers and keep in touch with her group members.
“I have a group of Filipino immigrants in the group that I lead, almost all of them have Taiwan ID cards. Usually, they attend gatherings on the weekends and the English Bible study and prayer meetings hosted by me on weekdays. However, all church readings and prayer meetings were held online now,” she said.