Archbishop uses Easter message to speak of hope in 'dark days'

The Archbishop of Canterbury has recorded a sermon for Easter in which he will remind people that they are "not alone" during the "dark days of this Easter".

The sermon has been pre-recorded in the kitchen of Justin Welby's London flat and will be broadcast nationwide at 9am via Radio 4 and online through the Church of England's Facebook page and website

It marks a considerable change for the Archbishop, who would traditionally deliver his Easter Sunday sermon in person to a packed Canterbury Cathedral. 

The Church of England is holding its first ever national digital service for Easter Sunday as church buildings across the country remain closed because of the coronavirus lockdown. 

Calling for lasting change, the Archbishop will use his sermon to appeal for "a resurrection of our common life" once the lockdown has ended. 

"After so much suffering, so much heroism from key workers and the NHS, we cannot be content to go back to what was before as if all is normal. There needs to be a resurrection of our common life," he will say. 

He will go on to address the widespread anxiety being caused by the pandemic, and the unchanging hope to be found in Jesus.

"So many people right across the country are anxious about employment, food, are isolated from loved ones and feel that the future looks dark. People right across the globe feel the same uncertainty, fear, despair and isolation. But you are not alone," he will say. 

"In the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have a hope that is surer than stone; than any architecture," he will say. "Even in the dark days of this Easter we can feed on hope. We can dream of what our country and our world will look like after the pandemic."

There will be contributions from the Bishop of Dover, the Rt Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who will read the Gospel, and the Archbishop's wife Caroline, who will read from the Book of Acts. 

Both have recorded their contributions from home in line with social distancing regulations.