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Church Services: Innovation

Volume 679: debated on Thursday 10 September 2020

What steps the Church of England is taking to support churches to continue to use innovative ways of conducting services after the covid-19 outbreak. (905865)

My hon. Friend is right to raise this point. I know that he, like me, celebrates the fact that now more people than ever have been taking part in church services during lockdown. The Church will continue to support good online worship, incorporating the best of the changes from lockdown with the best of what came before.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, churches have been conducting services in a variety of ways. I am thinking in particular of the open-air services held by Wave House church in Newquay and the Anchor church in Fowey—in Cornwall we do like a church with a maritime themed name. Other churches have been holding services online. A recent Tearfund survey found that as many as one in four adults in the UK has listened to or watched a religious service during the lockdown. Does my hon. Friend agree that, as we come out of the pandemic, it is important that churches continue to innovate and adapt, in order to engage with people in a variety of ways?

Absolutely. My hon. Friend raises a really important point. I am grateful to him for alerting the House to Tearfund’s research, which found that one in four people in the UK has listened to or watched a religious service over the lockdown, and I am particularly pleased to learn of the initiatives in the two local churches that he mentioned. He will be pleased to know that the diocese of London, for example, has led large outdoor services, and in the diocese of Norwich, in a large-scale drive-in service, hymns and preaching were beamed directly to car radios through a dedicated FM channel.