Christ Church Cathedral Dean, Mike Hawke, has been preaching to an empty building. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Preaching to the empty choir


Preachers and worshippers have been adjusting to the new way to pray under Covid-19 restrictions.

Christ Church Cathedral Dean, Mike Hawke, has been delivering his sermons to an empty cathedral as mass gatherings have been banned under Alert Level 2.

However, the cathedral has adjusted in order to stay connected with its congregation. Services are now streamed online and watched by people all over the world.

Mike says it has been a bit of a strange experience at times.

“I guess it’s like all TV presenters, preaching to the camera.”

He says the lack of interaction was very different and singing by himself is “very weird”.

The online services have proven popular with people tuning in from across New Zealand, Australia and even Europe.

However, not all have access to technology which Mike says they took into account.

“Those in rest and sheltered homes, often the most vulnerable can’t get online so we have an excellent pastoral worker who maintained links with those at-risk people.”

Mike and his wife have taken on multiple tasks – from playing the organ to reading prayers. He says, while they are looking forward to coming back, the outpouring of support has reasserted the importance of the cathedral.

“It has a worldwide unique location, at the end of the main street of the CBD on a hill, it’s a wonderful place and it belongs to Nelson.”