Church Broadcasts Worship on Community Radio
By the Diocese of Leicester
The churches of St Peter’s and St Philip’s in Highfields and Evington in Leicester began livestreaming services on Facebook and YouTube from the start of the first lockdown last year.
In May 2020 they also started broadcasting Sunday worship on a local community radio station, Leicester Community Radio, initially to reach people who did not have access to the internet or a smart phone.
The pre-recorded Sunday morning radio broadcasts now attract between 7,000 and 8,000 listeners every weekend. The church intends to continue providing this service – along with Facebook and YouTube worship – now restrictions are lifted, alongside in-person worship.
Revd Jonathan Surridge said the online services had enabled people with disabilities and health conditions to participate in worship and were helping the church reach people they were never previously in touch with.
Up until the lockdown the parish only provided temporary online access to services for parishioners while they were staying in hospital.
“When we started broadcasting online we realised that there was a whole raft of people that we had lost touch with, who had not been able to attend worship before the lockdown,” he said.
“We have one person who had not been able to attend for health reasons other than Covid – and she is there every day, for morning and evening prayer online and on Sundays. She said ‘it is nice to be back.’
“One of the things that I am most frustrated about is that it took a pandemic for us to realise that online worship and broadcast services were possible – we could have been doing this years ago, if we had thought about it. We remain committed to online worship and worship in the building.”