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Churches provide virtual services and online resources for Holy Week and Easter

PUBLISHED: 10:00 07 April 2020

Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford, will leave the Diocese at Easter before taking on his new responsibilites as Archbishop of York. Picture: Paul Starr, courtesy of Chelmsford Diocese

Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford, will leave the Diocese at Easter before taking on his new responsibilites as Archbishop of York. Picture: Paul Starr, courtesy of Chelmsford Diocese

PAUL STARR Photographer

Churches are using digital communication tools to help Christians worship from home, including providing online resources and live streamed services for Holy Week and Easter.

With places of worship closed during the coronavirus crisis, clergy and church leaders in the Chelmsford Diocese – which includes Newham, Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and Havering – have found new ways to serve and stay connected with their communities.

Many church leaders are live streaming services from their homes on platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.

These services are often attracting far more people than would normally attend church on a Sunday morning.

Holy Week, which began on Sunday, is the most solemn seven days of the Christian calendar, when events leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ are commemorated.

The diocese has launched Holy Week at Home, a collection of resources for each day including prayers, liturgy, videos, music and activities for all ages.

Chelmsford Cathedral is broadcasting several acts of worship live on Facebook.

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As well as morning and evening prayer, there is a daily reflection read by the Right Reverend Dr John Perumbalath, the Bishop of Bradwell.

On Maundy Thursday, the Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford, will lead a Eucharist from his home.

Hundreds of ministers from across Essex and east London will join Bishop Stephen on a Zoom call in place of a service that would have been held at the cathedral.

On Easter Sunday, at 3.30pm, the diocese will broadcast his final service as the Bishop of Chelmsford on YouTube Premiere and Facebook Premiere.

Bishop Stephen said: “It’s important that the church continues to offer hope and comfort to its communities in this difficult time for our world.

“The church has never been just a building, it has always been its people.

“I’m hugely encouraged by how churches in Chelmsford Diocese have embraced a different way of doing church, using digital technology.

“This shows we can still be a church community even though we are separated from each other.”


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