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Keyboards replace pews for e-church

Worshippers at the mother church of Bognor Regis will be able to log on to take part in its next services.


St Mary Magdalene Church is taking to the internet to ensure its regular acts of Sunday worship can still continue in the current coronavirus pandemic.


Its vicar, the Rev Tim Crook, said: “We plan to go live this Sunday. We are finding out ways of connecting using platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams.


“This will allow us to reach out to each other and connect to each other in the present time.


“We didn’t do this last Sunday but, I understand from other churches which did, more people took part in the services than would ordinarily be the case. That was only the first Sunday. So, the number is likely to increase further as the online coverage becomes more established.


“People also participated more and engaged more than usual when some can be quite passive in the services.”


Mr Crook has been at St Mary Magdalene for 11 of the 20 year he has been ordained.


Some 100 worshippers would attend on any Sunday and the individuals varied from week to week.


The church, in Bersted Street, has stood for 800 years. Mr Crook said last Sunday’s closure, along with other churches to protect congregation members from the virus, was only likely to have happened a few times previously.


“That is why last Sunday was so strange but we look forward with a sense of hope and optimism for the community of the church.


“We offer both contemporary and traditional acts of worship,” he said. It was intended to offer both forms online but the precise method was being worked out.


“This gives us a new way to be a church, because a church was never about a building. It was about a community of people and it about supporting and caring for each other,” added Mr Crook.

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