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Westminster Abbey and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Abbey is not currently open for public worship, general visiting or private prayer. Meanwhile, the community of Abbey clergy are continuing to worship and pray, in-line with government guidance. They are also producing a podcast to mark key liturgical events.

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New Zealand Prime Minister reads for Abbey podcast

Friday, 24th April 2020

New Zealand Prime Minister reads for Abbey podcast

The Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, has recorded a poem for the Abbey’s new podcast series which will be published as part of the Abbey’s Anzac Day commemorations this weekend.

The Prime Minister will read ‘Gallipoli Peninsula’ by Alistair Te Ariki Campbell (1925-2009) for the Abbey’s podcast which will be released on Sunday 26th April at 9.00am (UK time) on the Abbey’s website.

His Excellency the Honourable George Brandis QC, Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, has also provided a Gospel reading: Luke 24: 13-35.

Since closing its doors due to coronavirus, the Abbey has launched ‘Abbeycast’, a new series of podcasts for worshippers across the world. The podcasts which are approximately 15 minutes long have readings, a short sermon, music from the Abbey Choir, prayers and a blessing.

This week’s podcast for the Third Sunday of Easter will be introduced by the Dean of Westminster, The Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle with a sermon by the Reverend Canon Dr James Hawkey, Canon of Westminster. My soul, there is a country by Hubert Parry will be sung by the Abbey Choir, conducted by James O’Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers, supplied by Hyperion Records. It will end with prayers and a blessing by the Dean of Westminster.

The New Zealand Prime Minister and Australian High Commissioner made their recordings this week in their offices observing social distancing with digital files sent to the Abbey for editing. The Abbey’s elements were recorded before the British Fighting Forces Memorial within the Deanery of Westminster Abbey.

The Abbey is also upholding its long tradition of marking ANZAC Day by releasing a short film of a special wreath laying ceremony conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle at the Abbey’s West Door overlooking the Grave of the Unknown Warrior. It will be published on ANZAC Day, Saturday 25th April at 11.00am on the Abbey website and social media channels.

The Abbey is also be publishing a new historic article about ANZAC Day and the Abbey’s involvement in commemorations available. The Abbey’s chaplain, the Reverend Jenny Petersen, an Australian, has also recorded a personal reflection for ANZAC Day for the Abbey’s podcast channel.


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At different times of the day, or in different seasons, the light falling in the Abbey will light up something that you have walked past a million times and never seen before.

Vanessa, Head of Conservation

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