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Coronavirus: St John at Hackney Church to host services on YouTube after Church of England suspends public worship

PUBLISHED: 18:12 17 March 2020 | UPDATED: 18:15 17 March 2020

St John at Hackney churchyard. Picture: Ken Mears

St John at Hackney churchyard. Picture: Ken Mears

Archant

Services at St John at Hackney Church will be hosted on YouTube from this weekend after the Church of England suspended public worship due to coronavirus.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are calling for churches to become a “different sort of church” in the coming months as the country takes part in social distancing.

In a joint letter, Justin Welby and John Sentamu said it was now necessary to put public services on hold until further notice.

But they said that far from having to “shut up shop”, the CofE must become a radically different kind of church rooted in prayer and serving others.

It comes after the government announced unprecedented peacetime measures to try to control the spread of the virus, with restrictions on public gatherings, transport and working.

Rev Al Gordon, rector of Hackney, told the Gazette the parish services at St John at Hackney and St Luke’s in Homerton would be moving online with a project named Hackney Church Everywhere

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“We normally have 600 people who attend services at Hackney Church and the plan is to broadcast using YouTube a TV show we will put together of what we would normally do in the service,” he said.

People without internet access will be sent bulletins if they are unable to view the service.

“The other big thing we are doing is mobilising all of our energy around care of people and helping to communicate with people so they aren’t isolated,” rev Gordon added. “We will have connect groups who will go out and look out for their neighbourhood. The idea is to turn church inside out so we can help get everybody through this.”

The church’s foodbank, which is already oversubscribed, will now provide packages to people which can be collected from the St John at Hackney doorstep.

The Lighthouse project, in which chefs from Hackney Road restaurant Morito cook meals for the homeless, will also move to a takeaway service.

Visit hackney.church for more information. The services will be shown on YouTube and at hackney.church/everywhere.

For the latest coronavirus news from Hackney and across London follow our live blog here, visit our coronavirus page, or join our Facebook group here.

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