‘Oh dear, I’ve just caught fire’: Vicar accidentally sets himself alight while recording virtual sermon

‘You must watch the out-take – my family are really impressed with it,’ he jokes

Jane Dalton
Monday 23 March 2020 15:42 GMT
Vicar accidentally sets arm on fire while recording virtual sermon

A vicar accidentally set himself alight as he recorded an online sermon for worshippers confined to their homes by the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Stephen Beach, vicar of St Budeaux parish church in Plymouth, was recording the fourth in a series of virtual “worship experiences” when the accident happened.

He was leaning to his left in front of a cross of burning candles, talking to the camera, when he appeared to feel something on his left arm — and to find his jumper on fire.

Rev Beach interrupted his sermon to say: “Oh dear – I’ve just caught fire,” as he patted and rubbed at his sleeve to put the flames out.

Seeing the charred hole in his jumper, he exclaimed: “Oh my word.” The recording then stops.

The mishap has been viewed on YouTube at least 22,000 times.

In a later video, the vicar tells viewers: “You must watch the out-take – my family are really impressed with it.”

The Church of England has put physical worship gatherings on hold, closing all church buildings in London. It insists, though, that church buildings elsewhere are still open provided people practise social distancing.

It says it is expanding its output of hi-tech options to “walk with God” including a prayer for the day online audio and text, and Alexa and Google Home smart speaker apps. Webinars allowing churches to stream sermons are also planned.

Wedding ceremonies are restricted to five people – the bride and groom, a minister and two witnesses.

Catholic churches are adopting a similar approach on Sunday sermons, and some have started broadcasting Mass online.

Many mosques have suspended gatherings following guidance from the Muslim Council of Britain. But some congregations have still been meeting. Social media footage showed worshippers queueing for prayers at a mosque in Leicester.

Abroad, the Saudi government has suspended all pilgrimages to Mecca and Medina indefinitely. This month, Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem also closed for prayer.

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