Sheltered under umbrellas hundreds of Christians gathered in the Horsham Carfax this morning (Friday April 3) for an open air Good Friday service.
Led by a church band on the bandstand, they sang worship songs and hymns, said prayers and Rev Brian White, pastor of Trafalgar Road Baptist Church addressed the crowd speaking the Christian Easter message.
The event, organised by Horsham Churches Together (HCT) has been running for around 35 years involving 32 churches from Horsham and the surrounding area.
HCT moderator Bryan Steele said: “I think it’s been fantastic to see so many churches come together to remind people what Good Friday is about.”
For the first time this year, they held a ‘flash freeze’ just before the service. Across the town members of churches froze while shoppers continued around them. A few minutes later, they were led in a chorus of the well-known favourite Amazing Grace.
Anglican youth worker Judy Cox said: “I led the procession of Amazing Grace in Swan Walk. I thought it was really powerful singing Amazing Grace.
“There was one lady by the fountain in Swan Walk who just burst into tears. It was powerful.”
Young and old join in the annual commemorations.
Katy Ellis, 18, a pupil of the College of Richard Collyer, said: “It’s a really nice sense of community.”
Kathryn Grzegorek, 20, said: “It’s really nice to bring churches outside the buildings into the community. It means a lot to share out faith with those who might not otherwise get the chance to know Jesus.”
Mr Steele led prayers for those struggling in the community and the work of the churches and Christian charities in the town, including the foodbank and winter night shelter. One such Christian charity is ARK Horsham, which helps people struggling with addictions, homelessness or unemployment.
Director Lisa Burrell said: “Some of the ARK family met for the service and it was lovely to be part of the bigger church in Horsham - to stand together and praise God and to hear a testimony given about God’s love and saving grace given by Brian White.
“It was really encouraging and builds hope and there was such a strong sense of Jesus amongst the crowd.”