Back to all news
Written by:
Trinity Hall
04 May 2020

This time last year we would not have thought that attending religious services in front of a screen would be commonplace. Three Trinity Hall contemporaries from 1967 tell us of their experience:

“Little did we realise on Sunday 15 March 2020 that our 1100 Matins at the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London, where I am Assistant Priest, would be our last normal service for the unforeseeable future. The Chaplain Canon Roger Hall MBE decided at once that we should try to put together some sort of virtual services and the task fell to me as webmaster. So, I taught myself in an afternoon to use basic video-editing software and off we went.  Our services consist of separate segments of video and music which I stitch together, adding pictures of paintings or flowers by way of illustration. Like countless others, I learned how to use Zoom. I now record my segments using that because it enables me to insert a virtual background instead of my distractingly untidy study. Having never posted to YouTube, I also had to learn that in a hurry. After wrestling at first with paper scripts that made me look shifty because my eyes were never on the lens, I now use a teleprompter app on my iPhone, stuck to my laptop with masking tape, so I appear to be looking (almost) into the camera, like television presenters.

Apart from our Sunday services, we also put out a shorter weekly ‘Thought for the Day’ each Monday and a Newsletter each Wednesday, including video clips from members of the congregation or choir. I can see from YouTube that we have viewers not only amongst our London congregation but as far away as the USA and Australia – including an intriguing pocket of viewers in the Czech Republic. Such has been the impact of adopting these technologies that I can envisage us continuing to use them in some way well beyond the current lockdown.”

Anyone interested can see what we do here: Feedback would be welcome!

The Revd Cortland Fransella Assistant Priest, The Chapels Royal, HM Tower of London and Deputy Priest in Ordinary to HM the Queen.

“Our village church and its fellow one down the road have started a morning service three times a week.  It goes out on a YouTube channel. I have been leading those services this week. We run our Sunday service the same way, and several participants are edited in to read, and a genius edits all the voices of the choir and accompaniment.

We have occasional Zoom prayer meetings and “Prayerwaves”, a neat name for daily virtual prayer meetings.  A co-ordinator puts out subjects for prayer and some texts by email and we “meet” virtually by saying our prayers at the same time, all knowing that others are doing the same in their homes, and we notionally wave to each other through the airwaves.”

William King

“When the lockdown began, churches throughout the country closed their doors. As an alternative, the Catholic Church in my diocese of Westminster offered us a selection of churches that would be streaming mass and other services. For Palm Sunday and the Easter Triduum, we “virtually” went to Westminster Cathedral. By then we’d got used to the strangeness, and to the sadness of not being able to receive communion.  We were able to participate spiritually in four masses said by Cardinal Nichols with a reader, a cantor and an organist. These were wonderful occasions,  beautifully celebrated by the Cardinal and we ended each one uplifted and happy. We are very grateful for this silver lining – and for the technology that’s enabled it.”

Christopher Road