During these extraordinarily stressful and uncertain times, many are seeking out faith over fear, especially now during the holiest time of year. Duke Chapel’s livestream attendance has grown five times in the last few weeks. Many feel the need to be a part of a community or something bigger than themselves. And many seek out scripture, like Joshua 1:9, which says “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Passover began Wednesday, Good Friday and Easter are a few days away, and Ramadan starts April 23. Religious groups across Duke are ready, as they have quickly adapted from intimate to socially-distant services in the last month. Below are some of the upcoming virtual offerings. Additional groups and information can be found at Duke’s Religious Life Groups website.
Duke University Chapel, which convenes, supports and advocates for all of the campus religious life groups, has been livestreaming services since 2003 and broadcasting live on WDNC 620AM since the 1940’s. But their livestreaming services are now attracting between 1000 to 1500 people on YouTube and Facebook Live. During this past Palm Sunday, their livestream services drew 1700 visitors from New York City to Nigeria and Montana to Uganda. Previously, an in-person service would draw about 500 people with another 250-300 joining online.
The Chapel is livestreaming their Good Friday service at 7 pm and their Easter service Sunday at 11 am. “For so many across the country, social isolation, fear, and grief have become a new reality,” wrote Dean Luke Powery in a Lent message, while on sabbatical. “Worry can be our constant companion in times like these, but Jesus is here with us. We are not alone. You are not alone. I want to encourage you to use this time to seek and find our Lord. The call for social distancing is an opportunity for spiritual closeness.”
"The call for social distancing is an opportunity for spiritual closeness.”
- Luke Powery, Dean of Duke Chapel
Jewish Life at Duke
Jewish Life at Duke hosted a Zoom Seder Wednesday at 7 pm. With the group’s logo now Jewish Life at Home, they have moved their weekly Shabbat service (day of rest and spiritual enrichment) to Zoom, among other events like their Wednesday Torah Lunch Club and Daily Hang with JLD@Home. “In the midst of this frightening time and much uncertainty, we welcomed Shabbat with joy, community, and song,” said Rabbi Elana Friedman. “Shabbat is a moment to pause, to reflect and to belong… This is even more so in this moment. Even though we are scattered across the globe and staying home, we come together to share, sing, and pray.”
"In the midst of this frightening time and much uncertainty, we welcomed Shabbat with joy, community, and song."
- Rabbi Elana Friedman
The Duke Center for Muslim Life
The Duke Center for Muslim Life has a robust schedule of weekly events open to all. CML had their first socially distanced Zoom Jum’ah (Friday midday prayer service) and afterwards all the attendees shared what they were about to eat for lunch. They also added Heavenly Bakes with Samaiyah and Social Justice Book Club (register at bitly.com/cmlbookclub to receive readings and Zoom link) to their list of online activities. “Our faith in God cannot grow, it will not grow, until it is strained and tested,” said Chaplain Joshua Salaam. “So we pray for all those who are being tested. Some of us have lost loved ones. Some of us have lost our jobs. Some of us have lost our patience. Let us all pray we do not lose our faith. Let our faith grow stronger during this difficult time so that it will remain strong in times of ease. What is the silver lining in this dark cloud of COVD-19? We learn to appreciate what we have before it is gone. Let's appreciate our family and loved ones… Let us appreciate our freedom. Let us pray these gifts are not taken from us for before we thank God for having them.”
"Let our faith grow stronger during this difficult time so that it will remain strong in times of ease."
- Joshua Salaam, Duke Cetner for Muslim Life Chaplin
Starting next week, we have a weekly schedule of events open to all! Join Maryam, Imam Waheed, Brother Joshua, and Samaiyah any day of the week for some quality time. Have an idea for a program you want to see the CML put on? Email email@example.com or DM us here! We are preparing for Ramadan so keep your eyes peeled for more information, but in the meantime, we hope to see you at some of these weekly programs. #dukecml #muslimatduke #stayathome #socialdistancingnotsocialisolation
The Duke Catholic Center
The Duke Catholic Center has traditionally live-streamed Sunday Masses on their YouTube channel, but a new era of zero in-person Mass has brought a “surprise blessing” of many Duke parents, alumni, faculty, and students now tuning in. “Preaching to a largely empty room is never easy, but knowing that so many of our students, parents, alumni and staff were watching made all the difference,” said Father Michael Martin. “The spiritual connection – the communion – that comes from the Holy Spirit uniting us in prayer and worship was palpable. I pray that this moment becomes a lasting testament to the things that are most important to us."
"I pray that this moment becomes a lasting testament to the things that are most important to us."
- Father Michael Martin