Harpenden church upgrades video-conferencing as 100 join Sunday service

A Harpenden Sunday service reached 100 people in their homes, as services turn virtual amid coronavi

A Harpenden Sunday service reached 100 people in their homes, as services turn virtual amid coronavirus outbreak. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

Churches in Harpenden are set to upgrade their streaming service to treble the amount of households they can reach virtually after one hundred tuned in to a church service on Sunday.

Following the restrictions put in place to combat the spread of the coronavirus, Church of England bosses have closed churches.

These new measures have made normal worship impossible and has forced church leaders to look at other ways to offer services.

One hundred households joined Rev Dennis Stamps, Harpenden’s rector, for the first virtual communion service on Sunday morning.

He said: “At times like this the support and comfort of the church and community are even more important that normal.

“We wanted to do something where people could see each other and get a sense of community rather than simply placing a video on social media for people to watch.”

Working together, the three churches in the Parish – St Nicholas, St Marys and All Saints – set up a meeting using the business video conference tool Zoom.

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The service included live music from organist Chris Muhley and virtual hymns led by St Nicholas’ director of music, Marie Price.

“We had no idea how popular the service would be,” continued Rev Stamps.

“We had the full 100 households throughout the service and we know there were many people who couldn’t get into the meeting.

“All the more remarkable as many of our congregation have never used video conferencing before.

“We’ll be upgrading our package so that we have 300 lines available next week.”

Anne-Marie Kramer, who attended the service from her living room, said: “It so wonderful to be able to see other people and to join in with the hymns and other parts of the service.”

Dennis and his team are already planning next Sunday’s service which will take place at 11am and can be accessed from https://us04web.zoom.us/j/773146699.

Anyone needing assistance in Harpenden amid the spread of the virus can contact Harpenden Cares, Monday to Friday, 10am to 2pm on 01582 460457.

You can find out more information on it’s services at harpenden.gov.uk/harpendencares.