Archbishop of York leads ‘front room’ Sunday service


The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, will lead a national worship service from the front room of his home this Sunday as Christians across the country - and around the world - adapt to restrictions to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

This week’s Church of England national virtual service was recorded on an iPad in the drawing room of Bishopthorpe Palace. The Service is conducted by Archbishop Sentamu with his wife the Revd Margaret Sentamu.

The Archbishop of York praying during a service at Bishopthorpe.

It opens with a traditional Ugandan call to prayer, which Dr Sentamu delivers on drums, as well as Taizé chants and a range of modern and traditional worship music.

The music ranges from contemporary worship songs Cornerstone and The Cross Stands, specially recorded for the service by Geraldine Latty and Carey Luce this week in their own home, to hymns My Song is Love Unknown and It is a Thing Most Wonderful sung by St Martin’s Voices from St Martin-in-the-Fields, London.

The service will premiere on the Church of England’s Facebook page at 9am on Sunday and be available on playback immediately afterwards. An order of service, copy of the Archbishop’s reflections and audio of the service will also be available to download, for those wishing to join in from their own homes.

The Archbishop offers short reflections on passages from Ezekiel and the Gospel of John encouraging everyone to trust God in our current situation.

In a reference to the passage in Ezekiel – which recounts the prophet’s vision of a valley of dry bones, the Archbishop tells the virtual congregation: “At this present time of COVID-19 we are, as it were, set in death in exile.

“I believe the Sovereign Lord who knows it all by the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead to life eternal, the life creating power of God will bring us out of exile – out of the valley of death. Sovereign Lord we look to you to deliver us.”

Last Sunday, local churches across the country responded to the restrictions by streaming services and prayers – many of them for the first time. Explore the full list of live streaming taking place each week on

More than 400 people have now joined webinars that are helping to train church leaders on a range of topics, including how to use digital to livestream and making the most of social media platforms,

The Church has also published a range of digital resources to help people connect with God at this difficult time. The Time to Pray app, which includes simple daytime and night prayer services, is now free to everyone with accompanying daily audio offering on SoundCloud and iTunes.

This week a new series of mental health reflections were published alongside five tips to tackle loneliness and isolation. In addition, the #LiveLent daily series continues to run, with content available by app, smart speaker, email and audio formats.

Finally, the Church’s smart speaker apps provide a range of prayer and other Christian resources for people to access at home. In the last 30 days the number of people using the Alexa app has risen by more than 70 per cent.

Explore all of the content on our Church online page.