‘When there is a particular song or carol he'll be dancing around the house’ - how online worship has helped one family


‘When there is a particular song or carol that he loves, he will be dancing around the house, he will giggle, he will grab my laptop and attempt to control the playing,” Revd Charlotte Cheshire says, describing her son Adam’s response to online worship.
The Rev Charlotte Cheshire

The rise of digital services and worship, including a series of virtual reality carols released today by the Church of England, has been a ‘gift’ to her family, she says, along with other groups who found attending church before the pandemic difficult or impossible.  

Adam, 11, is autistic with multiple complex disabilities and learning difficulties. She looks after him on her own after she lost her husband to cancer last year.

‘Adam is absolutely gorgeous but when he is triggered by something in his environment - by a sound, a smell, an event, anything he can’t deal with, he will go to pieces,” she explains.


The Church of England’s Daily Prayer app, which has seen a big rise in popularity over the pandemic, has also been a surprise hit with Adam.

He likes to borrow her phone to listen to morning and evening prayer and she now hears him reciting snatches of prayers throughout the house.

In spite of having a developmental age of four, he insisted on taking part in reciting compline, or the traditional Church of England night prayer, with her using the app during the darkest moments when her husband was dying.

"I will never know how much he understands," she says, "But online worship has had a profound impact on our lives.”

  • Revd Charlotte Cheshire is a priest in the Diocese of Leeds