Praise out of doors, but still under cover

16:00, Dec 22 2011
Mark Chamberlain, vicar at St Barnabas Church in Fendalton, in the marquee it will be using for Christmas services.
CAMPER'S CHURCH: Mark Chamberlain, vicar at St Barnabas Church in Fendalton, in the marquee it will be using for Christmas services.

Christmas church services will be held in the "cathedral of the great outdoors", under canvas and in community halls across Christchurch.

The earthquakes damaged or destroyed many churches, including the Anglican and Catholic cathedrals.

St Barnabas Church in Fendalton has erected a marquee in the grounds for its Christmas services. The church was badly damaged in the quakes and needs repairs and strengthening work.

Vicar Mike Chamberlain said three services would be held on Christmas morning.

The marquee can seat 240 people and has been hired with insurance money.

"The marquee works very well and it looks lovely. It is a large space and we don't feel cramped," Chamberlain said.

Advertisement

The Christmas Day evensong ceremony normally held in Christ Church Cathedral will now be held by the Peacock Fountain in the Botanic Gardens.

Anglican Bishop Victoria Matthews said congregations from quake-damaged churches were gathering in school halls, nearby churches and a funeral director's chapel.

She said the evensong in the Botanic Gardens would be special.

"We will be in the cathedral of the great outdoors," she said. "I am hoping that people who are walking in the park will stop by.

"You will have to stand or bring a rug. It will be very relaxed, with beautiful music."

Catholic congregations will gather in makeshift places of worship on Christmas Day.

Mike Stopforth, bishop's deputy for parish planning for the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch, said extra services would be held on Christmas Day to make up for the loss of 16 churches.

A guide to church services was printed in The Press on Wednesday.

 MissionsA7

The Press