The Church of Egland has provided over 17,000 online services and events since the start of lockdown, a newly published report has revealed.
Figures taken from the denomination's A Church Near You website, which provides a directory for church services and events, now lists thousands of events including Sunday worship, Bible studies, morning and night prayer and many more.
The CofE notes that the statistics "do not include the Church of England’s national online weekly services broadcast on Sundays and shared on Facebook and YouTube," which they say have garnered nearly three million views. In addition, social media posts about the weekly broadcasts have been seen 23.6 million times.
Moreover, the Church of England's range of apps — including Daily Prayer and the Daily Office of morning, evening and night prayer — have been used more than seven million times so far this year, which is up from five million in 2019. Church of England social media posts have been viewed 86 million times so far this year - nearly double the total for last year.
The Church of England says the growth in online services has "been helped by the Church of England stepping up its digital training programme for congregations", noting that "more than 4,200 vicars and local church leaders have taken part in remote digital training courses so far this year, four times the number as in 2019".
The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, said: “At a time when many have felt isolated and fearful, Church of England parishes and clergy have broadcast thousands of online church services and events, seeking to bring comfort and hope to their communities. We know that tens of thousands of those tuning in will never have had contact with their local Church of England parish before and may never have heard the Christian message. Their welcome presence is a sign of the great hunger we all have for spiritual meaning in our lives.”