Some disabilities can make attending services in person difficult with members preferring to attend online.
Pam Webster lives with a chronic illness and attends an online service at Brimington Methodist Church in the Derbyshire North East Circuit along with five other members, plus occasional guests.
"Online church has made it possible for me to worship with others once again. The worship has been running since the second week of lockdown. Once people were allowed back to the church buildings, I made the case for sharing the physical worship via the internet."
Brimington Methodist is now a hybrid church. Many of those who are online are people who could not come into the building and, in some cases, their carers as well.
Revd Sean Adair is Superintendent Minister of the Derbyshire North East Circuit. "When isolation was enforced for everyone in early 2020, we soon found ways to keep one another connected. We sent letters by post, we circulated news by email, we set up WhatsApp groups, and soon found ways to use live video. Facebook videos, daily devotions, and online services were broadcast in all manner of experimental ways. YouTube became a place not only to watch videos, it became the place to upload and share ones that we had made ourselves.
"Then we discovered Zoom and, despite frustrations with the quality of broadband signals, we soon worked out ways to make really good use of the medium. Those who had often been left out, like Pam, suddenly had a way of connecting that had previously been denied to them."
"Most of those joining now have accessibility and health issues," says Pam. But there are others who join from around the circuit and some who join when they are on holiday. I think our furthest has been from Oman."
"With the cooperation of the operator based in the church, we can put our prayer requests into the chat on the call and they are read out. We don't have facilities to appear live ourselves but we can pre-record prayers and the bible readings to be played into the service. We are not just consumers but participants and leaders."
"Churches with an online aspect do need to remember us at home or we can quickly feel forgotten. As the physical congregation do not see us, they don't know our joys and sorrows, and vice versa.
"It is important anything given out at the service is emailed to us. Our church is brilliant at delivering us any crafts they are using. This helps us to feel part of things but obviously they can only bring them to people they know will be joining the service online beforehand."
"The hymns that are being sung in church are streamed to us, with the same projection on our screens as in the church. My illness makes it difficult to sing, but others singalong enthusiastically at home (on mute!)
"Newcomers are welcomed by those of us in the "Zoom room". We know and support each other; we recognise newcomers and can welcome them and explain what happens, just like you'd welcome someone new sitting next to you in the building.
"Because we join via Zoom, rather than YouTube or Facebook live, we are our own little community. We have time to chat before and after the service and to support one another. The person running the online service hands the hosting over to me so we can carry on talking once they have finished the streaming.
"Good practice for how services are presented is important with consideration around colour, contrast, font size and spacing to ensure the text on a screen is readable and that closed captions are enabled on songs and videos.
The online services have been vital to Pam; "I am rarely well enough to get myself to church, to sit through the service and get home. Being immunocompromised, it stops the risk of me catching anything someone has come to church with. At home, I have the chair I need to be comfortable, all my medical equipment on hand and I don't have the travelling to do. On days when I am more ill, I can turn my screen off and let the service wash over me.
"Without the online service I wouldn't be able to be a part of the church and worship."
All Saints Methodist Church
There is free parking in our car park behind the Church in Dorchester Crescent.