The Church of Scotland has produced a new guide to help congregations host election hustings online.
Local churches have often played an important role in the run up to elections by organising debates between candidates.
But social distancing restrictions mean they are having to consider ways to use technology to help people participate in the democratic process.
The Holyrood election on May 6 will be held on the same day as votes in Wales and English regions.
New hustings resources have been produced in partnership with Cytûn – Churches Together in Wales, Quakers in Scotland, and the Joint Public Issues Team.
Mary Sweetland sits on the kirk’s faith impact forum and is an elder of Lomond Parish Church, Balloch, which organised a hustings in the run up to the 2019 UK Parliament election.
She said: “Churches need to be at the heart of their community, listening to and engaging with local and national issues, transforming unjust structures of society and caring for creation.
“It is likely [in my church] that we will not be able to hold a face-to-face hustings meeting this April due to continuing Covid-19 restrictions on large gatherings.
“This advice being published is helpful, encouraging churches to work with other congregations in the constituency, to pool technical expertise and make for a bigger audience.”
This advice being published is helpful, encouraging churches to work with other congregations in the constituency, to pool technical expertise and make for a bigger audience.”
Very Rev Dr Susan Brown, convener of the kirk’s faith impact forum, said: “There is an important civic role that the church can play in national life in helping people to participate in the democratic process.
“The scenes from the US Capitol last month should be a reminder that democracy is fragile and needs to be protected; the values of freedom, equality and transparency which we sometimes take for granted are things we should strengthen and celebrate.
“Democracy is not simply about putting an ‘x’ in a box but thinking about the role all of us can play to build positive relationships and protect and promote human dignity.”