Church of England will start streaming services this week

Churches will begin streaming services online from this week as all religious buildings are forced to remain closed during lockdown

  • Bishop of Chemlsford wants church to emerge ‘stronger’ from coronavirus crisis
  • Church of England closed all of its buildings on March 22 due to pandemic
  • Streaming will start this week and clergy will return to church ‘when it is safe’ 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

The Church of England will begin streaming services this week after nearly two months of closures as the Bishop of Chelmsford hoped the institution would emerge from the coronavirus crisis ‘stronger than it has been for a long while’.

On March 22 the Bishops of London, Southwark, Chelmsford and Rochester announced CofE buildings were closing in light of the global pandemic, with other religious buildings following suit.

Select services have been broadcast online since the closure, but writing in the Daily Telegraph, Bishop of Chelmsford Stephen Cottrell said a number of vicars would be streaming services this week.

Bishop of Chelmsford Stephen Cottrell says Church of England services will be streamed online from this week 

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby delivered an Easter sermon from his kitchen at Lambeth Palace in April

Reverend Cottrell, who will succeed the Archbishop of York next month, said he felt churches would emerge from the crisis stronger.

‘Even when we do return to the sacred, beautiful space of our church buildings, with all their vital and much missed resonances of continuity, I believe the Church of England will emerge from this stronger than it has been for a long while,’ he wrote.

‘It is not one thing or the other. It is not in a building or online. We want to do both. When it is safe, we will. From this week, clergy will again be streaming services from their churches.’

A number of services have been held online since the outbreak of Covid-19, with Pope Francis delivering a Catholic mass via livestream from the Vatican without a congregation on Easter Sunday.

The Archbishop of Canterbury gave the Church of England’s official digital sermon, which he pre-recorded on his iPad from the kitchen of his Lambeth Palace flat, wearing full vestments and having set up a makeshift altar on the dining table.

Last week, the Church’s House of Bishops agreed to three stages of re-opening church buildings once infection levels improve.

The first phase would allow ‘very limited’ access for activities such as streaming services or private prayer by clergy, so long as social distancing and hygiene precautions are taken.

Some rites and ceremonies could then go ahead in phase two if permitted by law and if similar precautions are taken.

The final phase would allow worship with ‘limited congregations’ so long as Government restrictions are eased enough to allow this.

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