WITH mass gatherings frowned upon as the UK seeks to stem the spread of Covid-19, thousands of worshippers have been left unable to attend church.

Communion is a central part of the lives of Christians across the globe, but the sharing of bread and wine presents a challenge during the coronavirus outbreak.

But for a forward-thinking church in Brighton, the solution is simple: consecration via Skype.

On Sunday Rev Michael Hydes is to lead what could be the first e-communion of coronavirus-struck Britain.


He said: “We have reluctantly had to decide to suspend worship services, obviously because of the Government advice.”

Rev Hydes is a senior pastor at The Village Metropolitan Community Church, which was created by LGBTQ Christians, their families, friends, and allies.

He continued: “We did look at streaming services but we decided on using Skype conferencing because it’s interactive.

“If you are just watching a streaming service you do not get that same connection, that same social interaction.”

Instead, starting this Sunday, worshippers will be able to log onto Skype and take part in the service.

They can sing along to hymns karaoke-style with the words appearing on screen.

Rev Hydes said: “Alas, we cannot all sing together as the system can’t handle so many voices at once - but if we mute our microphones we can all sing along.”

And while he said that communion over Skype is “not something that we would normally do”, Rev Hydes said the community needs to “accept this is where we are”.

He said: “The world has been changing very quickly over the last few weeks and the church is adapting to those changes.

“Living with the reality of Covid -19 is not easy. I want to meet with folks and give a hug, but real life meetings are solely for emergencies and hugs all have to be virtual.”

Instead worshippers will be asked to prepare a glass of wine (or juice) and some bread ready for communion.

“Then at least we can consecrate together and we can celebrate together.

“Jesus is with us no matter what technology we use to meet.

“Together we will get through this, and ensure that we all stay as healthy as possible.”

The first service via Skype is on Sunday at 6pm, with worshippers getting a call 30 minutes before to set up.

Those wanting to be added to the worship list are asked to send a message on Skype to Rev Hydes, whose username is michaelhydes.