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US News Churches ready for online Sunday services

07:55  22 march  2020
07:55  22 march  2020 Source:   msn.com

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a large stone building with a clock tower: Church will begin streaming Sunday services online from today owing to coronavirus lockdowns (Ian West/PA) © Ian West Church will begin streaming Sunday services online from today owing to coronavirus lockdowns (Ian West/PA)

Churches across the UK are preparing to deliver Sunday services to mass audiences over the internet today amid efforts to fight Covid-19.

The Church of England and Church of Scotland have now both banned mass worship, while Catholic churches are adopting a similar approach to encourage people to maintain social distance to slow the spread of the virus.

The Reverend David Meakin said the church was having to work out “an entirely new way of doing things”.

“The Second World War didn’t shut the churches, but this has, so we’re in day three of trying to work out what we’re going to do,” he said.

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Some churches in the city already started livestreaming of mass services last week. Despite the clarion call by religious leaders across communities Reverend Biju Thampy of the Gateway Church in Goregaon held an online service last Sunday . Thampy said, “We had already asked the elderly

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Mr Meakin is part of a rural team of parishes near Aylesbury comprising 11 churches who will be broadcasting morning prayer and Eucharist services online from this Sunday.

Mr Meakin is unsure, however, whether the streams will be used by all parishioners.

“We will put stuff online, but I don’t know how much take-up there will be, because a proportion of our people are relatively old,” he said.

“They don’t go on to the internet, it’s not a place that they go.”

Still, Mr Meakin says it is important to maintain a church presence for as long as possible.

“Stick a laptop somewhere and you can broadcast on Facebook within seconds, it’s very straightforward, even if it won’t be high quality,” he said. “This is sustainable.

“I think some will value it – frankly, even if a few access it, it’s still worth doing.”

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The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will broadcast a service on BBC local radio today, and other denominations are making similar plans.

The Church of Scotland has a list of 40 churches that share their services online in some way.

Catholic dioceses have also made their plans, with Shrewsbury Cathedral among those that will be broadcasting Mass.

In a letter to the congregation, Archbishop Malcolm McMahon said: “During these disturbing and threatening times, the rhythm of the prayer of the Church will continue.”

One London church, St Martin-In-The-Fields, has already begun online worship, and says there has been an enthusiastic response, with audiences of more than 1,000 people for morning prayer and lunchtime services – far more people than can physically fit in the church.

Click or tap here for the latest travel advice for people travelling back to the UK from affected areas, including whether to self-isolate. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland, anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.

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