Thousands of churches offered remote worship from the start of the first lockdown, report finds

Thousands of Church of England churches adapted ‘at a moment’s notice’ to providing worship at home from the start of the first lockdown, according to a new report published today.

More than 9,000 churches (78%) offered ‘Church at Home’ online, via email, post and telephone during the March to July 2020 lockdown when collective worship was suspended because of the coronavirus restrictions.

More than 8,000, or 69%, offered livestreamed or pre-recorded services, while more than 5,000, or 44%, offered services downloadable from a website or emailed. Over 4,000, or 33%, offered printed and posted services and over 2,000, or 21%, provided telephone or dial-in services.

The majority were continuing to offer these services in October last year even though most were also open for in-person collective worship.

The findings, from data gathered from 12,700 Church of England churches, show that rural churches were as successful as urban churches in providing remote worship once the size of parishes’ pre-pandemic congregations was taken into account.

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