WORSHIPPERS packed pews to attend Easter services throughout Burton and South Derbyshire.
Father Matthew Jakes said congregations at masses held at Holy Rosary Church, in Stapenhill, and St Joseph’s Church, in Winshill, ‘were probably about 10 per cent up on last year’.
He said 65 people turned out for the Easter Vigil at 8.30pm on Saturday at Holy Rosary while 130 made it to the first Easter Sunday mass at St Joseph’s at 9.30am. Another 70 attended its successor service at 11am.
Father Jakes said: “Attendances are like the retail industry – a little bit dependent on the weather.
“I was quite pleased, nonetheless.”
Meanwhile, 72 worshippers attended the 10.30am service on Easter Sunday at Hill Street Baptist Church in Swadlincote – about 50 per cent up on the number who normally turn out for a Sunday service.
Reverend Jane Webb said the congregation was swollen by relatives staying with family during the festivities and members keen to attend to mark one of the most important dates in the Christian calendar.
“It was a lovely day and we enjoyed it,” she said, adding that the service lasted about an hour.
Back in Burton, Reverend Paul Farthing said numbers overall were probably ‘stable’ following 8am and 9.30am services at St Paul’s and 11am ceremonies at St Modwen’s and St Aiden’s.
“I think we were hit by the cold weather and probably also by the clocks going forward, particularly at early services,” he said.
“They all went well. There was a good feeling to everything.”
Meanwhile, in an interview marking Easter, the Bishop of Derby, Right Reverend Dr Alastair Redfern, said he hoped the festival could be a ‘time of celebrating the beauty and loveliness of life’ while ‘stopping and thinking about the struggle and the reality that life in a sense ends’.
He said: “Easter is a great festival about life and what’s real about life.
“It’s made as a gift to be beautiful, to be celebrated, but much of life is frail and fragile which we know in our lives and as we look at lives of people across the world.”