Gogglebox has become somewhat of a national treasure as we peek into the lives of the commentators, as they watch the nation’s favourite programmes. A much-loved individual among them is Rev Kate Bottley, who this Sunday will be leading the Church of England’s national service.
Since the Prime Minister’s announcement on 23 March 2020, places of worship were required to close for both private and public worship services.
The archbishops of Canterbury and York said the pandemic was a defining moment for the Church of England. In a joint letter from the archbishops to parishes, it was initially stated that: “where practical, churches could remain open as places of prayer for the community, but social-distancing recommendations must be observed. If possible, services should be conducted by clergy and live-streamed.” However, now all churches and places of worship are closed to parishioners.
That hasn’t put people off, as the live streaming of services has proved a hit with worshippers, as the Church of England’s weekly online services are receiving around 500,000 to 600,000 views each week.
Many other places of worship are also following suit and making changes to worship services via online streaming services.
This week’s service
As part of the online service, this Sunday sees Gogglebox star Rev Kate Bottley lead worship. She will address the viewers at the beginning of the service from her home and welcomes everyone to join her.
Kate Bottley said of this week’s: “We are as a nation conscious of the challenges and problems in the world at the moment, and the joy of the risen Christ can often feel far away.
Anyone can join us at this service, and all those taking part for the first time are especially welcome. I hope that the prayers that are offered and the message of the gospel will go some way to help all those seeking comfort and support at this difficult time.”
Prayers delivered in British Sign Language
For deaf viewers, the service will also be delivered in British Sign Language by Carolyn Denmark, of St Barnabas Parish Church in Swindon, Wiltshire. Deaf herself, she described how she will pray for the needs of the community. Plus, “pray that God will guide scientists, the Government and the NHS in their efforts to treat patients and stop the spread of the disease.”
Striving to be at the forefront of the community during Coronavirus
The Church of England is a large part of the community, including for those experiencing hardship. The archbishops explained that they should still be at the forefront of providing care and support for the vulnerable during the pandemic.
They wrote, “Ensure the night shelters wherever possible are kept open. There are many very encouraging schemes happening right across our country in communities to focus on caring for the most vulnerable and do continue to play your part in those.”
The national service will be available on Sunday April 26 from 9am on the Church of England website, YouTube channel and Facebook page. It is also available every Sunday, and you can watch past Sunday services via the Church of England website.