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  1. ITV Report

How religious congregations across the region have grown through online services

It was an historic moment when places of worship fell silent in our region for the very first time. Churches hadn't even closed during the two World Wars.

But on Monday they were told they won't reopen until at least July - because of the coronavirus.

These children watch the service online at home Credit: ITV Meridian
Places of worship have reported seeing an increase in online services Credit: ITV Meridian

But many say their online services have seen their congregations grow - while they continue to support others in the community.

  • Joel Virgo, Emmanuel Church Brighton
  • Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah, Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue

Nhim Akhtar says "Even for those who may not seem as religious, I think something has opened up in their hearts."

  • Nhim Akhtar, Cumberland Mosque, Reading

Mosques, churches and synagogues across the region are playing their part during the pandemic. Some are delivering food, while others are running foodbanks and rallying around the elderly.

And the Diocese of Chichester has set up a new phone line to help people cope.

This mosque in Reading is delivering food to NHS staff Credit: ITV Meridian
This Synagogue in Brighton is helping the elderly during the pandemic Credit: ITV Meridian
  • Rt Rev Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester
Places of worship are reporting a rise in online services Credit: ITV Meridian

In these testing times, many of in these communities feeling the need to lean on each other all the more. And while they can't stand together, they're still reaching out.

  • Watch Andy Dickenson's full report below: