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UK News

Anglican churches to begin streaming services in their buildings

by Press Association

Anglican churches will begin streaming their services online from this week, the Bishop of Chelmsford has said.

Religious buildings in the UK have been shut for nearly two months to halt the spread of coronavirus, with select services broadcast online.

But writing in the Daily Telegraph, the Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell said a number of vicars would be streaming services this week.

Rev 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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