About 800 people celebrate the festive season by candlelight at Knox Church on Christmas Eve. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Messages about enduring light were popular among
congregations at Dunedin Christmas services this year.
Dean of St Paul's Cathedral, Trevor James, said it was one of
the major reasons Dunedin residents went to church over the
''People go where there's hope in bad times.
''The global recession, unemployment, the idea of money,
rather than people - people are struggling out there.
''So our message has been the light shines in the darkness,
and light has never been under cover.''
Mr James said the congregations were about 25% larger than
previous years on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, because
people were looking for hope.
The message was similar at Knox Church.
The Rev Dr Sarah Mitchell said about 800 people filled the
church ''to capacity'' on Christmas Eve and about 160 people
had attended the 10am Christmas service yesterday.
She said this year's message to the congregations was that
peace and love could overcome war and violence.
The Rev Anne Thomson, of First Church, was delighted to see
so many children embracing the Christmas spirit this year.
She said more than 550 attended the carol service for
children on Christmas Eve after having a picnic tea on the
lawns of the First Church.
A further 450 attended a midnight service and 200 attended
the 10am service yesterday, to receive a Christmas message
inspired by The Hobbit movie: ''It's in the small deeds of
ordinary people that evil is defeated.''
St Joseph's Cathedral parish priest Monsignor John Harrison
said both the midnight Mass and the 10am service were full.