How is the Church of England adapting plans for Holy Week and into Easter to meet the challenges of coronavirus?


We have become ‘a different sort of church’ in ways we couldn’t have imagined several weeks ago. While worship in our churches is suspended, our joy in the resurrection is not to be silenced.

Across the country, churches are finding ways to join in loving and praying for the communities they serve. Do read this document, published today under the coordination of the Bishop of Lichfield, on Holy Week and Easter activities.

As we all journey together at this very difficult time in the life of the nation and the world, what are some of the ways in which the national Church is seeking to support churches, Christians and those exploring faith?

As we are largely confined to our homes and physically separated from one another, we need to find ‘the church within’, and we have provided some suggestions for this.

A cross with flowers on at Easter Giles McDonald

Daily and weekly services

Building on the Archbishop of Canterbury and Archbishop of York’s weekly broadcasts which have engaged a large audience, the Palm Sunday broadcast will be recorded by the Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, and the Archdeacon of Manchester, Ven Karen Lund, with Lucy Hargraves from St Peter’s Church in Bolton leading prayers, all from their own homes. Watch on our Facebook page.

On Easter Day the service will be led by Archbishop of Canterbury, with Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin reflecting on stories of how churches are stepping up to the challenge of Coronavirus in Canterbury Diocese, and Theodore (aged 10) leading the prayers. This broadcast will also be available on the Church of England’s website and Facebook page at 9am each Sunday and Easter Day can also be heard from 8.10am on BBC Radio 4.

The Church will continue to share audio of Prayer During the Day and Night Prayer, which many thousands of people listen to on a regular basis. Christians can join in these services by downloading the free Time to Pray app from Church House Publishing.

Stations of the Cross

Recorded in 2019 by the Archbishop and Archdeacon of Canterbury, with prayers led by Rev Isabelle Hamley, our new series of five podcasts takes people on the Holy Week journey by exploring and reflecting on five of the biblical Stations of the Cross.

Find your nearest livestream of Holy Week and Easter services

Clergy and church leaders across the country are continuing to lead services and events from their home and more than 1,000 livestreams are taking place on a regular basis. Explore the full list and find your nearest at The Church is continuing to provide webinar training on a range of topics including livestreaming. Find out more here.

Do also check your diocesan website for information on local streams from the bishops and others.

From Easter Day onwards: exploring the Lord’s Prayer

Refreshing the Lord’s Prayer material written in 2019 by Bishop Steven Croft will allow Christians to continue beyond Easter Day with content that lends itself to a context where personal prayer is paramount and gathering for worship is not possible. The 40 daily reflections, with new introductions for each week and daily family challenges, will lead people to the start of Thy Kingdom Come. Content will be available through a campaign app with full audio, smart speakers, daily emails, an ebook (Kindle and iBooks), and print options are being explored.

If you are already receiving the #LiveLent reflections, you will receive the daily Lord’s Prayer materials and the app will also automatically update.

Churches across the country will already have their own local plans. In addition, we hope this overview helps provide a sense of what will also be offered nationally.

Holy Week, in these unprecedented circumstances, may offer us some clues to how we will resume our worshipping life together when that happy and blessed day comes.

Church of England Communications