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C of E has been ‘astonishingly present’ – says new Archbishop
During the coronavirus crisis, the Church of England has been accused of “vacating the
public square or of being absent.”

So wrote Bishop Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York Designate, in a recent article for one
of the national newspapers. But he goes on: “I simply do not recognise (this). The Church
of England has been astonishingly present, albeit in many new and remarkable ways.”
The Bishop then gave many examples of various local churches who have reacted with
positive action during the crisis. Some have started food banks, helped refugees and
asylum seekers, set up telephone prayer services, started zoom Bible groups, or
organised children and youth events online.

“These stories are being replicated up and down the country,” he continued. “Most
astonishing of all, plenty of churches report very large numbers of people joining their
streamed services.

“Of course, we long for our church buildings to reopen. But when they do, it won’t be
business as usual – partly because we are discovering new ways of serving our

“When we do return to the sacred, beautiful space of our church buildings, with all their
vital and much-missed resonances of continuity, I believe the Church of England will
emerge from this stronger than it has been for a long while.
Bishop Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York Designate, was writing in the Daily Telegraph on 12th May 2020



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