OPINION: Easter and the church

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Today is the start of the most important weekend in the Christian calendar. How will you be spending it?

You could be one of the many for whom it is a normal working day, or if, you’re lucky, you are enjoying an extra day’s holiday, perhaps spending the time with family or friends, taking the kids out or just chilling out.

Chocolate is likely to be a big part of the weekend, and perhaps a roast too.

But will attending a church service be part of your plans for this Easter weekend?

If not, you are far from alone, as for most people who would consider themselves Christian, this is the start of just another – welcome – bank holiday.

In the media Easter is as likely to be presented as the start of the spring out-and- about season, or a time to think about a bit of DIY or gardening, as it is a significant religious festival.

It is a fact that the Church no longer plays a major role in the lives of many people, who are just as likely to visit Meadowhall on a Sunday as a place of worship.

But the Church is there, often quietly in the background, working hard to maintain its relevance to today’s society.

Today, for example, we highlight two examples of religious leaders highlighting issues that are of concern to us all.

Three hundred clergy held a vigil to draw attention to the increasing numbers of Sheffield families reliant on food banks, making sure that the effects of poverty do not go unnoticed in our city.

A member of Sheffield Methodists summed up their role as “to recognise, challenge and respond to inequality and unfairness”.

On a practical level, the Methodist Church runs foodbanks for those in need.

We are, of course, a multi-cultural nation and it was a group of leaders from many of the faiths represented in the city, concerned about the activities of racist and fascist groups that stood on the Town Hall steps to promote tolerance, and to urge people to use their vote later this month to keep extremists from gaining power.