Wakefield family to lead Church of England's national virtual service

A family in Wakefield have been chosen to lead this week's national virtual Sunday service from the Church of England.

The service was pre-recorded in the living room of the Vasey-Saunders' home and will be broadcast at 9am on the Church of England's Facebook page and the Church of England website.

The service will be led by Rev Canon Leah Vasey-Saunders, Canon Precentor of Wakefield Cathedral in West Yorkshire, who will be assisted by her husband, the Rev Dr Mark Vasey-Saunders, Academic Tutor at St Hild College. 

Joining them are their four children, Miriam, 9, Elias, 12, Jude, 14, and Reuben, 16. 

The service for Low Sunday - the second Sunday of Easter - includes prayers, hymns, a family game and reflections on what the family has learnt about faith during the lockdown. 

It is the latest in a series of virtual services being held by the Church of England each Sunday since the lockdown started last month, forcing the closure of church buildings. 

The digital services have enjoyed a huge draw, with over 600,000 watching the Archbishop of Canterbury lead the Easter Sunday service from his kitchen last weekend.  The service was trending on YouTube UK's top 10 throughout the day, with a third of those who watched via the video platform being below the age of 34. 

Canon Vasey-Saunders said: "It's quite daunting to be the first family to lead one of these lockdown services for the nation/national church but we were excited to be able to offer something of our own eclectic expression of faith at home in this way.

"We've had so much fun with the planning and preparation – some of our outtakes were hilarious.

"We have also come to a new understanding of what it means to seek and find Jesus when we find ourselves stressed, tired, occasionally grumpy and stuck at home together 24/7.

"We've been left wondering where we might encounter Jesus next during this lockdown and what new opportunities and future he might be calling us to step into."