Thousands call in to new free worship phone line

(Photo: Unsplash/Aaron Burden)

A free dial-in worship phone line set up to help older people unable to join online church services has received thousands of calls since it went live on Sunday. 

Daily Hope, launched by the Church of England, offers hymns, prayers and reflections via the freephone number 0800 804 8044, and is available 24/7.

It was set up primarily to offer a way for people without internet access at home to continue worshipping after church buildings were closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

By 7am on Tuesday, just two days after it launched, the phone line had received more than 6,000 calls, with many of the callers having been referred by friends, family and churchgoers. 

Total calls to the line have spanned more than 50,000 minues, with some callers listening to the selection of music, prayers and reflections for nearly an hour at a time. 

The Church of England's head of evangelism, the Rev Canon Dave Male, said: "The volume of calls over the first two days really shows that Daily Hope is meeting a need.

"While we all long for the day when we can meet together in person in our churches again, we have a duty in these strange and difficult times to find new ways of bringing prayer and worship to people wherever they are, and this is one more way of helping people to connect with God from their own homes.

"This is such a simple idea – planned and launched all within a few short weeks by a small dedicated team – but I pray it will bring real comfort, hope and inspiration to people at this time."

Carl Knightly, chief executive of Faith in Later Life, which helped to set up the phone line, added: "The Church must be those who continue to offer hope to our nation at this time, so I'm delighted to see the significant number of people already using the 'Daily Hope' phone service during this lockdown.

"When I heard of the numbers of people calling in once the service was launched, I was not surprised, because Faith in Later Life has heard stories of many feeling isolated and alone.

"I am keen to see people continue to tell of Daily Hope if they haven't already, sharing this free phone service with family, friends and neighbours."

Pippa Cramer, founder of Connections, another partner of the dial-in service said: "I am really thrilled by the impact Daily Hope is already having on thousands of older people in just the first couple of days since its launch.

"Responses like the following just fuel my excitement and encourage me to keep praying: 'I have been trying to call Mary for a while now but the line is engaged. Her son has just sent me a text and the reason for the engaged line fills me with joy and delight. She is listening to Daily Hope! Thank you, thank you'."