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The impact of COVID-19: conversations with faith communities

Research that took place in 2022, about the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on a selection of faith communities in Scotland, and their thoughts about the future.


The negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic were large, and felt across the whole of society and the economy in Scotland, but some of the features and functions of faith communities made them particularly vulnerable to its harmful effects.

Faith communities are typically based in locations, in shared buildings and houses, with frequent interpersonal interactions, relationships across generations, and with people who may be at higher risk of more serious disease - through their older age, their health status or because they are disabled.

The research presented in this report sought to understand some of the ways that the pandemic affected faith communities in Scotland, and what this means for their future.

The research findings highlight a prominent experience of loss in faith communities. This loss consists in direct bereavement, lost membership, lost spaces, lost connections and opportunities, and lost certainty about the future.

The findings also include positive effects, including accounts of survival, adaptability, and new growth. This included development of new skills and capacity – particularly for digital and remote activities and interactions.

The pandemic situation led faith communities to reflection, and thinking about their deeper functions and roles. There are examples in this report, of proactive action to take control and strengthen themselves, and provide a legacy for future members of their communities.

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