This is the moment that the Easter Sunday worshippers at All Hallows Church in Whitchurch celebrated the Resurrection – with party poppers, and a resounding Alleluia!
The exultant Paschal greeting, captured in Geoff Knappett’s photograph – and his accompanying sentence, ‘We celebrate our faith joyfully’ – sums up the ethos of the church, in Hampshire.
‘The ultimate message of Christianity is very serious,’ said Geoff, ‘but we like to express our faith with joy. Last year we handed party poppers to all members of the congregation so that the response to “Christ is Risen” was “He is risen indeed, Alleluia…bang!”
‘It’s important that people enjoy coming to church, and what better way to celebrate the most important festival in the Christian calendar? I just happened to have my iPhone with me and took the shot at the right moment.
‘We had a number of photographs to choose from, from the Good Friday service that we held outside the church with a group around a fire, to members of the congregation in a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party that we did for the community, and they were all pictures of people, because people are what it’s all about.’
He was ‘delighted’ to be among the nine regional winners, and the prize money has already been earmarked.
‘There’s been a place of worship here since 800AD and probably earlier,’ he said, ‘and the main part of the church is Norman with Victorian additions, so inevitably it needs bringing up to date. We’ve just started a fundraising campaign to renovate the interior, but it’s going to take five years to raise the money, and we will need to spruce the building up during the interim. The current carpet is held together with gaffer tape, so this money will pay for a new carpet which is sorely needed!’