In an Easter message, Bishop Peter Eagles explains how the Church has adapted to meet the needs of the community during the coronavirus outbreak.

Church buildings are closed, but the Church is open - as open, in fact, as it has ever been, and connecting in all sorts of different ways to meet the needs of the people of our island.

Given the rapid world-wide spread of the virus, the need to close our church buildings was clear.

Like all public buildings, they could have become places of possible infection.

I long for the day when we can open them again and worship in them.

But it is also clear to me that the Church is not its buildings, but its people.

Even with our buildings closed, the life of the Church continues, perhaps becoming even more visible as it looks outward to the community that it serves.

Here’s one example of many.

At the Cathedral in Peel, volunteers put on a lunch every Monday called ’The Big Table’.

This is open to everyone. It is a three-course cooked lunch.

You are given a small envelope on the way in, and you hand that envelope back at the end, anonymously, with as much or as little as you wish to give as a donation.

You are very welcome to give nothing at all.

With the Cathedral and Hall closed for now, we look to see how we can best take this service outwards to the people who can no longer come to us.

So it has become a delivery service that operates in Peel on Mondays, from 12 noon to 2pm.

This is a prime example of the outreach that the Church has always sought to exemplify.

I would add that it is more difficult for us to reach people who are not digitally connected, so to contact this service ring Pip on 844041.

In terms of worship, while we are currently excluded from our buildings, Christians have an opportunity to exercise their faith in different ways.

Like the first Christians of the persecuted early Church, and indeed in common with Christian brothers and sisters in a number of countries in the modern world, we are worshipping in our homes.

This is an authentic way of being the Church: contemplative, engaged in the study of scripture, and praying for our island and our world.

But we are also able to be connected with each other through a range of technologies, whereby our life as individual Christians is made public and communal: the video blog for Holy Week and Easter, groups meeting for daily prayers through Zoom, and regular worship being streamed from our parishes.

So we are worshipping and praying and serving in ways that are different, in some cases still developing, yet thoroughly authentic and faithful.


Beyond that, of course, and acknowledging that not everyone has access to the internet, there is the new Sunday morning programme from Manx Radio, as well as national religious broadcasting on BBC television and radio.

From the Church on the Isle of Man, we wish you God’s blessing at Easter, and God’s blessing upon those in your hearts and minds.