Plans for online church services this Easter by Wisbech priest Canon Matthew Bradbury
"Let's start doing what we're told and stay home" - that's the message from a local church leader as he prepares to conduct services online for the coming months.
The Rev Canon Matthew Bradbury, who looks after both St Peter's and St Augustine's churches in Wisbech, said: "Staying home is the only way to keep our older folk safe, but we also understand people might want to reconnect with their faith during this time of crisis."
Canon Bradbury said: "The Church of England had wanted us to keep churches open so people could visit to either pray or to spend time in quiet contemplation and in Wisbech, St Peter's and St Paul's was open up until Monday.
"It is a large building and has capacity for around 400 people, which meant visitors could easily keep a safe distance apart - however the church has now, like St Augustine's and others in the area closed in light of the government's latest lock-down guidelines.
"I am hoping to conduct online services of Holy Communion for both Palm Sunday on April 5 and Easter Sunday, April 12, from my home. I had originally hoped to use St Augustine's as that has been closed and cleaned, but that won't be possible now.
"I am trying to put together a shortened service, people won't want to watch me giving a lengthy sermon.
"Easter time is considered the most sacred time of the year, much more so than Christmas, which is why I want to provide services for these two important dates. I would like to do a service every week, but I don't think it is practical.
"However, if I can set something up for once a month, then that is what I will try to do - information about what is happening at St Peter's and St Augustine's will be available via our Facebook page, where the services will also be posted so people can watch them at their leisure.
"More information about what is happening within all the churches can be found on the 'churches near you' website."
Canon Bradbury said his days have been hectic, despite the fact he and his curate Claire Wilkinson are practising self-isolation.
He said: "We are calling our congregation, not just those who attend services, but we have a list, a bit like an electoral register, and we are talking to those people, praying with them if they want to and just generally checking they are OK.
"Claire and I pray each morning together via the internet and Claire has got a YouTube channel offering a 'thought for the day' and I have 'Vicar's Verbals' which is a bit like a sermon. I'm not doing one every day, but I'm trying to do one regularly.
"I'm also continuing to help those people we currently have in training for the ministry locally, and offering them support and lessons online. We are doing as much as we can whilst following the social distancing guidelines, and I hope everyone will do the same to help keep others in our community safe."