The Church of England has launched a free dial-in worship service to bring prayer to people’s homes while churches are closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Daily Hope, which is available from today, offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of a telephone line.

The national line is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said the service has been primarily set up to support Britons, especially the elderly, who are unable to join online church services.

It’s important that we support those who are feeling lonely and isolated, whatever age they are.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

“With many in our country on lockdown, it’s important that we support those who are feeling lonely and isolated, whatever age they are,” he said.

Callers to the service will hear a special greeting from Mr Welby before being able to choose from a range of options, including hymns, prayers, reflections and advice on Covid-19.

“The Daily Hope service will allow people to hear hymns, prayers and words that offer comfort and hope, especially in this Easter season,” Mr Welby said.

“I want to urge people to spread the news about this service. If there is someone you know who is particularly struggling, give them a call and let them know about the Daily Hope. I’m going to phone a friend; will you join me?”

His remarks came after many churches across the country shared their first “virtual” Easter Sunday celebrations.

Mr Welby gave the Church of England’s official digital sermon, which he pre-recorded on his iPad from the kitchen of his Lambeth Palace flat, wearing full vestments and having set up a makeshift altar on the dining table.