Churches follow advice to return to virtual world

The rise in coronavirus cases has seen churches in Wolverhampton make a return to a virtual way of worship.

Rev. Tim Eady said St. Joseph's Church would do everything it could to help the local community
Rev. Tim Eady said St. Joseph's Church would do everything it could to help the local community

Churches across the city have suspended physical worship inside the church and moved back to online worship after receiving advice from Wolverhampton Council’s director of public health John Denley.

In an email sent out to all places of worship, Mr Denley spoke about the health challenges in the city, looking at the rate of infection and the number of positive cases in the last few weeks.

He advised places of worship to move to a remote worship model to help with keeping congregations safe and protecting public health.

It has seen churches return to a world of Zoom calls, Facebook Live events and YouTube videos, broadcast and filmed from inside churches and homes alike.

Rev. Tim Eady from St Joseph’s Church in Merry Hill was one of the early exponents of online broadcasts from inside the church and said the move to online worship was a sensible one.

He said: “As a church, we take people’s safety very seriously and want to do all we can to support our city and our nation in getting over this pandemic.

“The first lockdown helped us to know what to do and while there are some of us at a certain age who struggle with the technology, we and the church have certainly adapted.

“We will move back to using Facebook and Zoom and I will do what I can from inside the church, which is not always easy, but helps people to feel part of the church.”

Rev Dr Ian Poole said St Mary's Church was prepared for online worship, but added he'd have liked to keep the church open

Rev. Dr Ian Poole said he and the church committee at St Mary’s Church in Bushbury had made arrangements to close the church and return to online services in support of the community.

He said: “We made the decision to close and return to Facebook and Zoom after seeing our local schools close, so it was very much done in solidarity with a wish for public safety.

“We will put up a five to 10 minute message at the church on our Facebook page, with our sister churches the Church of the Good Shepherd and St James’s doing similar work.”

Rev. Poole also said the constant change with restrictions and rules was also difficult to deal with.

He said: “It’s a bit tiresome to have to change tack all the time and while we are better prepared this time, we would have liked to stay open as God is our every present help in this crisis.”

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