Theresa Villiers, Member of Parliament for Chipping Barnet, has released the following Easter message:
“I would like wish everyone a very Happy Easter.
It is good that churches are open for communal worship, despite the continuing Covid restrictions on our lives.
I am sure that many of my constituents will value the chance to gather together to mark the sadness and solemnity of Good Friday, followed by optimism and hope of Easter Sunday, celebrating the Resurrection of Christ.
Some I know will have given up certain types of food and drink for Lent, making Easter celebrations even more eagerly anticipated. The recent easing of lockdown will allow families and friends to spend some time together outside in a Covid-safe way.
Following the struggles, separation and loss of the past 12 months I hope that people are able to take comfort from the Easter message of renewal and rebirth which is at the centre of this most important week of the year in the Christian calendar. I appreciate that my constituents will have been able to take comfort from their faith during this very difficult time for our country.
I would like to pay tribute to all the clergy and church groups who have been helping the community during the pandemic. They have played a crucial role and we are lucky in Barnet to have such thriving Christian communities keen to reach out and look after friends and neighbours.
Easter is also an important time to remember the suffering of Christians around the world who are subjected to unfair treatment, harassment, or even violence, for practising their religion. It is gravely worrying that more and more Christians are having constraints placed on the freedom of religion by oppressive governments."
The photo shows the Walk of Witness at Hadley Green. This brings congregations from local churches from different denominations together on Good Friday. It includes a walk down Barnet High Street from Monken Hadley, as well as an open air ecumenical service at St John the Baptist Church. It has been organised by Churches Together for Chipping Barnet for the last few years (and Theresa often goes along), but sadly isn't possible this week because of the rules banning large gatherings.