Edinburgh church's digital services reach thousands more during lockdown

(Photo: Ps and Gs)

The number of people joining an Edinburgh church's services has swelled during the lockdown.

Like other churches across the country, St Paul's and St George's in York Place moved its services online when the Government started introducing strict social distancing measures. 

It has been livestreaming three online services each Sunday throughout the lockdown.

While its physical Sunday services typically attract several hundred people, thousands more have been tuning in to the broadcasts. 

One online service was watched live 4,300 times, the BBC reports. 

Associate rector the Reverend Libby Talbot was expecting even more people to join the virtual Easter Sunday service. 

In a break with tradition, the Easter service was pre-recorded, which she said made it possible for the church's rector, Reverend Dave Richards, to have his first Easter Sunday off in 30 years.

She believes that the much larger numbers of people turning in for the church's digital services is a reflection of the uncertainty people are feeling in a "hopeless time".

"Life feels so helpless and chaotic just now and people feel out of control," she told the BBC. 

"Christianity is built on a solid foundation and gives real hope during this period of hopelessness and uncertainty.

"People are thinking just now about what the future holds and so are looking to the church.

"People also have more time just now and so are exploring - a service online is a low threatening way to do this."