As we enter the first weekend without any church services, the Bishop of Basingstoke has spoken out about the coronavirus pandemic and has found that worshipers have found a new way of communicating as communities’ practice social distancing.

This comes after the Church of England announced they have suspended all services for the foreseeable future but that worshipers can stream church services online to participate in prayer.

Speaking exclusively to the Gazette, Bishop David Williams said: “This is the toughest thing we have tackled globally in 100 years, but we have found new ways of communicating with the public and equally a new way of listening to people around us. I think we are finally reversing some of the horrors in recent times.

“I am optimistic that food supplies will soon stabilise in a few days as stores have started limiting customers to two or three per item and people can only take so much. This virus is bringing the community together as we have seen examples of kindness throughout the community.

“One of our church members and her daughter have been sending beautiful postcards through people’s doors around the neighbourhood with their phone number on it offering help with and within an hour two people had phoned up to offer their help. It really is wonderful to see”.

The Bishop of Winchester, Reverend Tim Dakin, added: “Many churches will be livestreaming prayers, worship and preaching this Sunday. Each week Christians will also be able to tune into a Sunday service broadcast across all BBC local radio stations at 8am.

“The first service this Sunday will be led by Archbishop Justin. This radio service will offer those who may find it more difficult to access services online the opportunity to be a part of a worshipping community, from wherever they are able to tune in.”

For more immediate services, such as weddings, funerals and baptisms, Bishop Williams confirms that they will continue to go ahead but the number of attendees has been greatly reduced.

Bishop Williams emphasised that weddings would be limited to “a minimum of five people present at each service which should be adhere to if at all possible” with elderly guests discouraged from attending.

This also applied for baptisms as services however the priest will not hold the child and the holy water will be poured over the child’s head with a shell instead of using their hands to stop the spread of infection.

In terms of funerals, the Bishop noted that crematorium funerals would be run in a particularly different way being sure to make use of the two-meter space between attendees and that only immediate mourners are asked to attend.

He added: “Graveside funerals are the best option for families in these uncertain times because they can be conducted outside allowing people to spread out around the grave site where they can pay their respects”.

To watch the weekly services, visit for St Mary’s in Andover, for Christ Church in Winchester or for Christ Church in Chineham.