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Devon vicar takes telephone church service for worshippers who aren't on the internet during the coronavirus lockdown

Rev Ruth Frampton led her Mothering Sunday service over the phone. Credit: Diocese of Exeter

Many churches are live-streaming their services or using social media to reach their congregations during the coronavirus lockdown but many worshippers don't have access to the technology.

When public worship was suspended by the Church of England to tackle the spread of the disease, Rev Ruth Frampton, who is Priest-in-Charge of the Teign Valley and Haldon Mission Community, decided the simple telephone would be a better fit for her parishioners.

On Mothering Sunday, 22 March, she led a simple service of ‘telephone worship’ using a conference call facility with more than 80 people taking part from as far afield as Gloucestershire and from a ward at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

Many in our congregations do not have access to streaming facilities and the majority fall into the vulnerable category - over-70 - and often with underlying health concerns.

The coming weeks and months will be difficult for those who have to self-isolate.

Whilst many will tune in to the national church services streamed on TV or radio there is a sense of loss that we cannot join together as a local community.

– Rev Ruth Frampton
Credit: PA

Those taking part were not charged for the telephone call and Rev Frampton says she hopes to continue weekly worship in this way for as long as public worship is suspended.