From painting eggs to a cake sale - a Hartlepool church has continued its efforts to build an even stronger community.
St Mary’s Church - which was in the headlines earlier this year for its campaign to raise £500,000 for restoration - is going much further to engage with local people.
Activities at Easter included arts and crafts, games in the garden, window displays and making marshmallow sheep.
St. Mary’s parish council member Bernadette Malcolmson said: “While this event itself was not directly related to our fundraising efforts, it’s all part of the bigger picture with us building an even stronger community in and around the church and forging deeper links with St Bega’s Primary School.
“The invite was actually open to all and distributed across the other Catholic churches in town too with children from St Thomas More’s, St Patrick’s and St Joseph’s all taking part.
“On Saturday around 50 people joined in our arts and craft sessions led by 10 volunteers from the parish.”
There was a real buzz around the church throughout both days and it’s wonderful to see a community so filled with joy as we celebrated Easter togetherBernadette Malcolmson
Youngsters decorated cakes, painted Easter eggs and made cards and other crafts to take home with them.
“There was even time for some games in the garden on what turned out to be a beautiful Easter Saturday morning,” said Bernadette. “Many people made comment on what a good morning their children had had with us and they were all very excited to take home their cakes and crafts.
“Some children kindly left their painted eggs to be part of the window displays around church on Easter Sunday morning, adding a lovely splash of colour to our church.”
The fun continued on the Sunday with a cake sale taking place before mass with “parishioners working hard to make many Easter themed cakes including some marshmallow sheep and a few chicks laying eggs,” said Bernadette.
“Once we celebrated our mass of Easter Day the children then headed out in the church gardens to enjoy an Easter Egg Hunt which was a very fitting end to a weekend full of fun and laughter.
“The community of St Mary’s Church and the whole of the Holy Family Parish really came together for our Easter Family Fun weekend and this is definitely something we will be doing again in the future.
“There was a real buzz around the church throughout both days and it’s wonderful to see a community so filled with joy as we celebrated Easter together.”
The church, with more than 160 years of history, is in urgent need of repairs. Around £500,000 is needed to restore it to its former glory.
That includes the bell tower which is crumbling from the inside out, exterior walls and work on the floor which is lifting down the aisle.