Connecting with God at a Preston church ... by Facebook

Paul Blackett at Preston's Central Methodist Church.
Paul Blackett at Preston's Central Methodist Church.

A Preston church is launching remote religion to help worshippers through the coronavirus crisis.

The Central Methodist Church in Lune Street will be live streaming on its Facebook page on Friday night to give the public a chance to connect with God without putting their health at risk.

For an hour from 9pm people will be able to message prayer requests online, ask for a candle to be lit, or just spend some thinking time viewing images from the church.

The idea is an extension of the monthly Night Church service in which people in the city centre have been visiting the church to pray and spend time in a peaceful atmosphere.

“In a shift to our normal way of opening, Night Church is going online both to recognise that a lot of people just can’t get there and also to offer a way of connecting with God at a time when people are worried about crowds and coronavirus,” said Paul Blackett, the church’s treasurer.

“On Friday 20th March at 9pm the Night Church Facebook page will be live streaming video of the church. With candles, lighting and music, people can message prayer requests, ask for a candle to be lit or just take time to think.”

Explaining Night Church, Paul said: “We welcome people who are out enjoying Preston’s nightclubs and bars late at night.

"Attracted by Christian music and a welcoming face on the street, people call in to experience the ambience of Night Church. In this warm and welcoming place, people of all ages have been visiting to sit in the peaceful atmosphere, light a candle, chat and, on occasion, pray in the church.

"Over a coffee before venturing back into the city, people have talked about all sorts of faith issues.”