Millions access online worship


The Church of England’s national online services alone have attracted more than 3.7 million views since the first restrictions on gatherings for public worship to limit the spread of Covid-19 were introduced almost a year ago.

Clips and content from the services have been seen 40 million times on social media channels.

The Church of England’s prayer and discipleship apps – through which people can join in ancient services of morning and evening prayer from wherever they are – have been accessed eight million times, up 50 per cent on the previous year.

Comment from the Revd Peter Froggatt, Director of Outreach

"I think these figures tell us a couple of important things. Firstly, they remind us of all that churches have done over the past year. The pandemic is the biggest disruption to conventional worship that we have ever faced, and churches across the diocese have responded with amazing energy, creativity and perseverance. We should be hugely encouraged by what we can do. 

"Secondly, they reveal an appetite for worship, a desire to connect with the church and so with God. Most of these viewers were already attending church, but many new people have connected as well. In a time of fear and uncertainty, people have needed reassurance and hope, and they have found these in online services. 

"The ways we worship will no doubt change again as restrictions ease, but people will still need reassurance and hope. It would be good to pray that, despite tiredness, churches will continue to be creative and persevering as they hold out the hope we have in Jesus Christ."


The figures for online services are thought to be just the tip of the iceberg as churches’ response to the pandemic triggered a major change in the way Christians worship and reach out to their neighbours.

At least 20,000 services and other online events are now listed on the Church of England’s ‘church-finder’ website AChurchNearYou. A year ago there were none.

And a special hymn download service, designed for local churches to use as part of online worship, has seen more than a million downloads.

As churches look ahead to an expected easing of restrictions and more public gatherings, many are assessing how to incorporate the lessons of the last year into their regular patterns of worship and outreach after the pandemic.

Page last updated: 18th March 2021 4:54 PM