Church services draw faithful

Celebrating Christmas are (from left) Vladimir and Ana Manza, and Stephanie Clydesdale at the Fire and Destiny Centre candlelight service on Christmas Eve. Supplied photo.
Celebrating Christmas are (from left) Vladimir and Ana Manza, and Stephanie Clydesdale at the Fire and Destiny Centre candlelight service on Christmas Eve. Supplied photo.
Inclement weather seemed to have little effect on attendance at Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services this year.

Knox Church council clerk John Elder said about 700 attended this year's Christmas Eve candlelight service with the retired Rev Dr Sarah Mitchell, who shared popular Christmas messages of light reaching into darkness.

Mr Elder said about 130 people also attended the Christmas morning service taken by the Rev Graeme Munro.

Numbers at both services were similar to previous years, he said.

Fire and Destiny Centre pastor Nathan Shaw said attendance at their Christmas Eve service was up on the previous year.

About 50 people came to listen to messages about God's relationships with those who turn to Him.

St Joseph's Cathedral parish priest Monsignor John Harrison said the cathedral was full again this year, with an estimated 400 people.

The service encouraged people to make room in their hearts and reach out, not only for Christ who was born in poverty, but for those living today in extreme poverty, he said.

St Paul's Cathedral's canon Claire Brown said about the same number of people as last year attended the Christmas Eve service conducted by the Bishop, the Rt Rev Dr Kelvin Wright.

He spoke of the wonder and hugeness of the universe, and how in all of the immensity of it in time and space, the possibility of it happening by chance was unbelievable.

Dunedin Methodist Parish superintendent the Rev Siosifa Pole believed the inclement weather discouraged many people from attending this year's service at Glenaven Methodist Church.

In previous years, there had been about 100 people present, but this year, there were only about 60, he said.

The service was a celebration of the coming of Christ, and the hope of peace to come on Earth.john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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