Vicar keeps cool after accidentally setting himself on fire during online coronavirus service

21 March 2020, 10:34

By Kate Buck

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced many Churches to hold services online, but it hasn't all been smooth sailing for one vicar adjusting to the changes.

Reverend Stephen Beach, who looks after the congregation at St Budeaux's Parish Church in Plymouth, was preparing for his Sunday service when things went a little awry.

Rev Beach accidentally leaned in a little too close to the burning candles and set his jumper aflame.

Despite the potential danger, the vicar managed to keep his cool and patted out the flames, saying: "Oh dear I've just caught on fire. Oh my Word."

He even let out a laugh after realising there had been no harm done.

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Rev Stephen Beach kept his cool after accidentally setting himself on fire
Rev Stephen Beach kept his cool after accidentally setting himself on fire. Picture: Rev Stephen Beach

Rev Beach was unhurt in the incident, and the footage was posted onto the Church's Facebook page with the hashtag #VicarOnFire.

The Church of England and Church of Scotland have now both banned mass worship, and Catholic churches are taking a similar approach to encourage people to maintain social distance to slow the spread of Covid-19.

The Rev David Meakin said the church is having to work out "an entirely new way of doing things".

He said: "The Second World War didn't shut the churches, but this has, so we're in day three of trying to work out what we're going to do."

Mr Meakin is part of a rural team of parishes near Aylesbury comprising 11 churches who will be broadcasting morning prayer and Eucharist services online from this Sunday.

Read more: What do the latest UK coronavirus announcements mean for you?

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will broadcast a service this Sunday, and other denominations are making similar plans.

The Church of Scotland have a 40-strong list of churches who share their services online in some way, and catholic dioceses are also announcing their plans, with Shrewsbury Cathedral among those to confirm they will be broadcasting Mass.