A VICAR has taken his services online after churches were forced to close due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Fr Peter Needham, the vicar for both St Helen’s Church in Athersley and St John’s Church in Carlton, has taken to Facebook to livestream his weekly mass services.

This comes after churches around the country were told to close their doors last week following advice from the government to avoid the spread of the virus.

The vicar has been livestreaming his Wednesday and Sunday masses directly onto his Facebook page so people can still watch along live.

Fr Peter, who lives on Laithes Lane, Athersley, said: “I have been trying my best to livestream the service at 10am on both Wednesday and Sunday for people to watch live.

In Text Promo Image

“At first, I was holding the service inside the church, with a nice scenic background.

“But because of recent changes, I have had to adapt and I now host them from my kitchen - which isn’t as exciting unfortunately. “The reaction has been absolutely amazing so far.

“Last week, I had around 300 people watching the stream at one time, which is more than any service I’ve done at the church. “It just goes to show the need that people have for this at the moment.”

Fr Peter thinks it’s more important than ever for people to engage with their faith.

“I’m only one of thousands of vicars doing this around the country, which shows you that faith is alive and well. “At the moment, people are looking for a place to belong, and the church can provide that.

“It’s important that the relationship people have with God continues in this time of great uncertainty.”

Fr Peter is livestreaming on Sunday and Wednesday at 10am on the St John’s Carlton Facebook page.