First virtual Sunday service to be broadcast by Church of England

The Church of England will broadcast its first virtual Sunday service for worshippers staying at home due to coronavirus.

It will be led by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and broadcast across 39 local BBC radio stations on Sunday at 8am.

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

It comes after the archbishops of Canterbury and York wrote to clergy on Tuesday advising them to put public services on hold in response to Government advice to avoid mass gatherings to help prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Speaking at Westminster on Wednesday, the Most Rev Justin Welby 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 last for years and will shape us in ways we can’t even begin to predict at the moment.”

In his address this Sunday, the archbishop 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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