The Church of England will broadcast its first online prison church service this Sunday.

In a statement, the church said it would broadcast the service, which is being recorded at three sites in England -  HMP Stocken in Rutland, HMP Low Newton in Durham and HMP Pentonville in London - from 9am on Sunday on prison television and radio as well as on the church's websiteFacebook page and YouTube channel.

The service, which, under the theme of 'hope', will include contributions from prison staff and chaplains as well as prayers, reflections and artwork written and created by prisoners, will enable prisoners and their families to attend the same church service for the first time.

Rev Helen Dearnley, Anglican chaplaincy adviser for HM Prison and Probation Service and the person who will lead the service, said the online service is “enabling us wherever we are to unite in hope and prayer and praise".

“Today for the first time, those in prison and their families will be able to worship virtually together, and all of us, separated from our communities by coronavirus, can share in this worship.”

Prisons Minister Lucy Frazer said in a statement that with all social visits paused due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was great to see technology being used to allow prisoners to connect remotely with their families.

"[I] am delighted that we can continue to do that with our first-ever virtual prison church service," she said in a statement.