'Virtual sermons' as Devon and Bristol church services go online amid coronavirus crisis

Churchgoers in Devon and Bristol will still be able to enjoy their regular services by tuning in for 'virtual sermons'.

Churches across the West Country are still open, but public worship has been suspended amid the Coronavirus crisis.

A pre-recorded service, filmed at Exeter Cathedral, will be broadcast online on Sunday morning, and parishioners are being encouraged to join in from home.

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Mass worship has been suspended but churches are still open. Credit: ITV News

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Our Sunday services are not happening, so it seemed very important to be able to offer some worship that people can join in with

The Rt Revd Jackie Searle, Bishop of Crediton
The church is urging people to look after their neighbours. Credit: ITV News

The Bishop of Truro added that the move did not mean the church was "shutting up shop".

Now is the time for the Church of God to rise to this great challenge of our times. I cannot help but feel that this crisis challenges us deeply to be just the kind of Church our God is a calling us to be.

Rt Revd Philip Mounsteven, Bishop of Truro
Bristol Cathedral remains open for people to pray and reflect - so long as they keep a safe distance.. Credit: ITV West Country

Bristol Cathedral has also taken its services online - which it hopes to livestream through Facebook and YouTube.

It added that the Cathedral remains physically open for private prayer.

During this period we plan to keep the Cathedral open. At a time when many places are closed, and when we are encouraged to practice ‘social distancing’ the cathedral provides a safe space where people can come to pray and reflect (and with sufficient distance around them).

Canon Michael Johnson, Acting Dean of Bristol
A worshipper at Bristol Cathedral, which is staying open during the coronavirus outbreak. Credit: ITV West Country

We asked one older churchgoer from Westbury on Trym in Bristol what he thought of the moves to take services and sermons online.

Older people might not be too IT-savvy for such things. They might need help, they might need guidance on how you watch services online but I have noticed that lots of churches are doing that.

Geoff Perrett, Churchgoer
Bristol Cathedral is streaming its services through its Facebook page. Credit: ITV West Country