'Do not use coronavirus to sell religion' will be focus of BBC's next televised church service

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by Josh Peachey

The COVID-19 crisis should not be used as an excuse to sell religion, a senior church leader will say in a broadcast across BBC local radio this Sunday (29 March).

Revd Dr Martyn Atkins, Superintendent of the Methodist Central Hall Westminster, will say that Christians should not be “salespeople” of God. 

Dr Atkins will say: “Lent is a time to seek not only to follow Jesus, but to become more like him. The challenge is not to become good salespeople of religion as much as free gifts of God’s grace in Christ, where you are, today, now.

“In these fraught days in the life of our planet, our nations, our communities, our families and homes, each of us have the opportunity – no, the requirement – to decide what, and who, and whose we are.”

The service will be broadcast on all 39 BBC local radio stations in England at 8am and will be available soon after on BBC Sounds.

Every Sunday the BBC is broadcasting a church service to a “national wireless congregation” as normal places of worship are closed. Led by a different church leader each week the service started on 22 March with Archbishop Justin Welby.

This Sunday’s broadcast comes from the Methodist Central Hall in Westminster, a focal point for Methodist worship, close to the houses of Parliament.

The service will be broadcast on all 39 BBC local radio stations in England at 8am and will be available soon after on BBC Sounds.

Broadcasts for other faiths are also taking place on local radio, including for Muslims each Friday.