Archbishop of Canterbury to hail emergency workers in online Easter service
The Archbishop of Canterbury will hail the courage of people working on the front line in response to the coronavirus outbreak as he leads the first national digital Easter Sunday service from his kitchen.
The Most Rev Justin Welby will also call for “a resurrection of our common life” in the video from his flat at Lambeth Palace.
“After so much suffering, so much heroism from key workers and the NHS, we cannot be content to go back to what was before as if all is normal,” he will say in the sermon recorded on his iPad.
“There needs to be a resurrection of our common life.”
With worshippers stuck at home under lockdown, the service will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday and available to watch on the Church of England’s website and Facebook page from 9am.
The Archbishop, who normally presides before a congregation of 1,500 people at Canterbury Cathedral on Easter morning, will also acknowledge the uncertainty society is currently facing.
“So many people right across the country are anxious about employment, food, are isolated from loved ones and feel that the future looks dark,” he will tell a virtual congregation.
“People right across the globe feel the same uncertainty, fear, despair and isolation. But you are not alone.”
He will add: “In the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have a hope that is surer than stone; than any architecture.
“Even in the dark days of this Easter we can feed on hope. We can dream of what our country and our world will look like after the pandemic.”
The Archbishop will be joined in the virtual service by his wife Caroline, who will read from the Book of Acts.
Other pre-recorded elements of the service, which will feature hymns, include The Rt Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin reading the Gospel and 10-year-old Theodore Levings, a member of All Saints Church in Canterbury, leading prayers.
The BBC service will finish with a national virtual congregation singing Thine Be The Glory, submitted by Radio 4 listeners in advance.
Churches across the country have been continuing to broadcast services digitally in the lead-up to Easter, with more than 1,000 livestreams taking place on a regular basis.
The Palm Sunday service was the third to be broadcast on national Church of England channels since the suspension of public worship in church buildings due to the coronavius outbreak.
A national service broadcast by the Archbishop of Canterbury last week, which also featured on BBC Radio 4 and local radio stations, attracted around five million listeners and viewers.