Diocesan Bishop Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, the Bishop of Blackburn, has backed the new, free ‘Daily Hope’ phone line launched this week by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby.
Daily Hope is a simple new way to bring worship and prayer from The Church of England into people’s homes while church buildings are closed because of the coronavirus.
The line – which is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 – has been set up with those unable to join online church services during the period of restrictions particularly in mind.
The service is supported by The Church of England nationally as well as through the Connections group based at Holy Trinity Claygate in Surrey and the Christian charity Faith in Later Life.
Bishop Julian said: “This is a wonderful idea to offer music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services at the end of a telephone line.
“There has been much made recently about the new levels of interest in the Church and in the Christian faith we are seeing online since the lockdown. This is important of course and should be encouraged.
“But people who are not able to engage so easily on the internet (many of them in older age groups) will really appreciate the Daily Hope phoneline.”
At the launch of the new phone line this week Archbishop Justin said: “With many in our country on lockdown, it’s important that we support those who are feeling lonely and isolated, whatever age they are.
“The Daily Hope service will allow people to hear hymns, prayers and words that offer comfort and hope, especially in this Easter season.
“I want to urge people to spread the news about this service. If there is someone you know who is particularly struggling, give them a call and let them know about the Daily Hope. I’m going to phone a friend; will you join me?”
Meanwhile the national Daily Hope line is an initiative being mirrored at a local level by churches in our Diocese for their own parishes.
Examples include St James' Church in Clitheroe, where they are encouraging friends of those who are not online to ring them on their landline just before a service transmission starts on YouTube or Facebook, place their phone close to the laptop or smart phone or smart TV and allow their off-line friend to listen in.
Then there is St Andrew’s Church in Leyland where they have created a dedicated phone line people can ring and it plays the latest Sunday morning service down the phone to them.
Associate Vicar of St Andrew’s, Rev. Dr Duncan Bell, said today: “We are aware there is lots of material that we are placing online at present, but we didn’t want to exclude anyone who doesn’t have online access. This was a way that anyone with a phone could continue to join us in worship.”
Callers will hear a special greeting from the Archbishop before being able to choose from a range of options, including hymns, prayers, reflections and advice on COVID-19.
Options available include materials also available digitally by the Church of England’s Communications team such as Prayer During the Day and Night Prayer, updated daily, from Common Worship, and a recording of the Church of England weekly national online service.
A section called Hymn Line offers callers a small selection of hymns, updated daily. An option entitled ‘Hymns We Love’, provides a hymn and reflection and is based on an initiative by the Connections group.
Ronnie Semley, April 2020