Canada faithful turn to ‘God Pod’ as church services resume

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 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 this week 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 this country — has been blamed in part on religious gatherings, including a Toronto wedding that led to a cluster of new infections.

As of Thursday, 9,238 deaths across Canada have been linked to Covid-19, out of 140,539 confirmed cases. (AFP)