Coronavirus: Archbishop of Canterbury to lead first virtual Church of England service | UK News


The Archbishop of Canterbury is due to lead the Church of England’s first virtual Sunday service for worshippers staying at home because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The service has been recorded in the crypt chapel at Lambeth Palace in London and includes prayers, hymns and a short sermon, the Church of England said.

It will be broadcast across 39 local BBC radio stations at 8am this weekend.

The move comes after the CofE suspended all services until further notice earlier this week due to the coronavirus crisis, saying it must become “a different sort of church in these coming months”.

It followed a joint letter to parishes from the Most Rev Justin Welby and the Archbishop of York John Sentamu, who described the COVID-19 outbreak as a defining moment for the Church.

The Most Reverend Archbishop of York John Sentamu. Pic:David Hartley/Shutterstock
The Most Reverend Archbishop of York John Sentamu. Pic:David Hartley/Shutterstock

“Are we truly a church for all, or just the church for ourselves?” they said.

They wrote “our life is going to be less characterised by attendance at church on Sunday and more characterised by the prayer and service we offer”.

The CofE must now be “rooted in prayer and serving others,” they added.

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Speaking at Westminster on Wednesday, the Archbishop of Canterbury likened the coronavirus pandemic to a nuclear explosion, saying: “The crisis through which we are passing will change this nation in deep and unpredictable ways.”

He added: “Like a nuclear explosion, the initial impact is colossal but the fallout lasts for years and will shape us in ways we can’t even begin to predict at the moment.”

In his address this Sunday, he is expected to encourage worshippers to help the vulnerable who are self-isolating by giving to a food bank and doing their shopping.


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