Church of England ‘fine’ with morning services accommodating Lionesses

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Victoria Park would play host to a free public screening on Sunday.

A senior bishop from the Church of England has said it is “fine” for churches to move morning services to accommodate the Lionesses’ first World Cup final.

The Right Reverend Libby Lane, Bishop of Derby and the Church of England’s lead bishop for sport, said people should choose the service that is “right for them” in order to watch Sunday’s crunch game with Spain.

The reverend at St Mary’s Church in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, said the church is set to live-stream the game with “bacon rolls and fizz” following its main morning eucharist.

Reverend David Green, from West Malling church in Kent, announced he would be moving his morning service half an hour earlier to accommodate the 11am kick-off time.

Setting out the Church of England’s position, Rev Lane said: “My congratulations to the Lionesses on their fantastic achievement and I know lots of people will want to watch the match live. That is fine from the Church of England’s point of view.

“Others will prefer to go to church and avoid knowing the score until they can watch the match on catch-up, and that is fine too.

“Church services happen at different times in different places, so people can choose one that is right for them.

“Whatever they decide to do, I’m sure the final will be a wonderful and memorable occasion, and,  win or lose, the Lionesses should be immensely proud.”

Elsewhere, pubs, bars and other venues up and down the country are gearing up to show the Lionesses in action – with industry bosses pleading with the Government to loosen licensing rules for opening hours and alcohol sales.

A super screening of the final in London is expected to attract more than 12,000 fans.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan confirmed Victoria Park in Tower Hamlets would play host to the free public screening as Trafalgar Square continues to undergo longstanding maintenance.

Announcing the super screening in Victoria Park, Mr Khan said: “London and our entire nation has been enthralled by the performances of our amazing Lionesses and this screening will bring thousands of fans together to roar on the team in their biggest game yet.

“The Lionesses’ run to the final – and hopefully to bring the World Cup home – will deliver a further massive boost to the popularity of women’s football in this country and inspire more girls and women to get involved in sport.

“The atmosphere for the screening on Sunday will be electric and I can’t wait to see Londoners come together at Victoria Park and at the many fantastic venues, bars and restaurants across London showing the final to cheer the team on to glory.”

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