A free phone line offering hymns, prayers, and reflections 24 hours a day while church buildings are closed because of the coronavirus has received more than 6,000 calls in the first 48 hours.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, launched Daily Hope on Sunday as a simple new way to bring worship and prayer into peoples homes, during the lockdown period.
The line which is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services in mind.
The service is supported by the Church of England nationally as well as through the Connections group based at Holy Trinity Claygate in Surrey and the Christian charity Faith in Later Life.
By 7am on Tuesday morning the line had received more than 6,000 calls from across the country, with many being referred by friends, family or members. Calls have so far spanned more than 50,000 minutes, with some of those accessing the service listening to the music, prayers and reflections for up to 50 minutes at a time.
The Revd Canon Dave Male, the Church of Englands Director of Evangelism and Discipleship, 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, added: The Church must be those who continue to offer hope to our nation at this time, so Im 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 havent already, sharing this free phone service with family, friends and neighbours.
Pippa Cramer, founder of Connections, 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.
Callers to the line hear a short greeting from the Archbishop before being able to choose from a range of options, including hymns, prayers, reflections and advice on COVID-19.
Options available include materials also made available digitally by the Church of Englands Communications team such as Prayer During the Day and Night Prayer, updated daily, from Common Worship, and a recording of the Church of England weekly national online service.
A section called Hymn Line offers callers a small selection of hymns, updated daily. An option entitled Hymns We Love, provides a hymn and reflection and is based on an initiative by the Connections group.