Churches across the Church of England Diocese of Durham and in Durham Cathedral are finding â€˜new-ways-of-beingâ€™ in the digital realm as a response to the COVID-19 crisis.
As the Archbishopsâ€™ announced the suspension of gathered public worship, parish churches have taken themselves on-line to â€˜Live Streamâ€™ services, prayers and other church life events via Facebook Live, Youtube and Instagram.
In some churches, clergy are streaming their own thoughts and services from home, others are using the setting of the church for their backdrop. One vicar in the Diocese said : â€œThe important message is we are open for business and all are welcome. Itâ€™s just a â€˜new-way-of-us-beingâ€™ church.â€
The Bishops of Durham and Jarrow are working remotely and interacting with their teams using video conferencing and also using digital technologies to keep the whole diocese updated.
The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham said: â€œWhen offering God worship and prayer, and the pastoral care of the most vulnerable are the only things that we can continue to do,Â what does it look like in our context? It will look different in villages from big estates. It will be different where everyone in the community has access to the internet from communities where usage is still low. It asks us to focus on the essentials in a way that we donâ€™t always need to do in normal times, in a new and creative way.Â
â€œLet us pray that God will guide us to be imaginative and creative in our worship and prayer as Godâ€™s pilgrim people. Let us commit to keep serving the neediest in our communities, keeping in contact to avoid loneliness and unhelpful isolation. Let us pray that we will emerge from this time a different church â€“ one that has learned afresh to be Godâ€™s own people.â€
A full list of churches offering â€˜Live Streamedâ€™ content including Durham Cathedral is available on the Diocese of Durham website and is regularly updated. It can be found here: https://dev.aegies.org/covid-19/live-streamed-services/
In addition, churches ae providing regular updates and details of things they are doing, and when churches will be open for personal prayer via: https://www.achurchnearyou.com/