CHURCHES in Stalybridge will be getting together for a Whit service after it was decided the traditional form of walk will not happen.
Several in the town indicated they did not want to form the kind of parade many people recognise as the annual celebration.
Many reasons were behind the decision, not least the amount it would cost for insurance on ever busier roads and stretched police resources not being able to patrol.
But others – including St Paul’s, St James’, Reach Church and Holy Trinity – are combining to form a service and short parade.
And it is hoped the inaugural Pentecost in the Park can be the start of something new – and bigger.
Sunday, May 28 will see people meet in Armentieres Square at 10.45am, beginning with a prayer and a blessing.
They will then move together to nearby Cheetham Park for a service of unity and witness at 11.30am.
That will be led by the leaders of the represented churches and involve our usual sung worship, accompanied by Boarshurst Silver Band and the worship group from Reach Church.
Christian comedian Andy Kind will also be the speaker before everyone sits down together for a Big Church Picnic.
The Rev Emma Handley, of St Paul’s, said: “Prior to the Covid shut down, Churches Together in Stalybridge used to hold a Walk of Witness and Service of Unity in Armentieres Square on the afternoon of Pentecost Sunday.
“This has always been an important act of witness to the life and presence of our faith, and it is symbolically important that this occurs on the day that the Christian Church was born.
“The leaders of Churches Together in Stalybridge have had a conversation about how we can honour this important tradition of witness and proclamation of our faith in unity with one another but be more of a blessing to our community than we currently are when we block our roads.
“We are coming back on to the streets with a few modifications and a new vision.”
Everyone living in Stalybridge is invited to join the celebration.