A vicar has told how B4RN was crucial to allow worship to continue in the Lune Valley during lockdown, as churches begin to reopen their doors.

Revd Michael Hampson wrote in the Wagtail Newsletter this week.

He said: “We were delighted earlier this summer when we were able to unlock our churches once again for private prayer and then, a few weeks later, hold services in all four churches.

“Our congregations have gathered faithfully for the online service every Sunday all through lockdown. Amongst the highlights was the service on Sunday 28 June, live from both Arkholme and Tunstall simultaneously. By the wonders of B4RN, the vicar of Tunstall and I celebrated a single Holy Communion service from two altars, in two separate churches, two kilometres and a river apart. It was still lockdown, but more than twenty people took part from home as readers, musicians and choir members, and more than ninety people gathered to take part live from their homes on the day.”

The recording of that event – as well as some open air services – are online at the four parishes website.

He continued: “There you will also find six items by the ‘lockdown choir’, where everyone sings along individually at home, all mixed together into a choir for broadcast.”

“New Normal”

Lockdown may be easing, but Revd Hampson says they have no plans to stop streaming services: “We are able to gather again in our buildings and our four open-door Sunday services so far have been joyful occasions, both for those who have gathered in the building and for those who have continued to contribute and take part online from home. With many people still isolating or nervous about indoor gatherings, each Sunday so far has seen just one fifth of the total gathering in the building and four-fifths of the gathering continuing to follow live from home. This may be the new normal for quite some time – although there is some evidence that numbers in the building may be starting to increase.

“On Sunday 27th of September – with the B4RN box newly installed – the service will come from Saint Michael’s, Whittington. You can join us in church in Whittington or online, at 10.45am on Sunday 27th of September. In the meantime, there are services every Sunday at 10.45am – full details at the four parishes website. You can join us in church or follow online. And in this extraordinary year, we can continue to hold onto the precious things we know – like kindness, and family, and prayer.”

For services in church, Covid-safe precautions include social distancing, hand hygiene, one-way circulation and special arrangements around holy communion. Face-coverings are required on the same basis as retail locations.