THE city’s Christian festival Love Oxford is taking a break for a year.

For the past six years, thousands of worshippers have gathered together for the Love Oxford festival.

Last May, for the third year running, the service was held in South Park, with about 4,000 people gathering around a large tent.

But this year organisers have decided to take a year off from staging a large-scale event.

Instead, Love Oxford will have a slot in the Olympic Torch Relay celebrations being held in South Park on the evening of Monday, July 9.

St Aldate’s Church operations director John Tranter said: “We were invited by the city council to take part in the evening in South Park in July for the Olympic celebrations and thought that would be a good idea.

“As I understand it, there will be a rolling series of events throughout the evening, with the Love Oxford section lasting about an hour.

“Singers from the Christian Life Centre in Cowley Road, who were very popular last year, will be coming back.

“It will be much less of a standalone event for us this year, but the stage will already be set up for the Olympic event.

“I hope Love Oxford will be back to normal next year – it’s definitely something we wouid like to do because it’s a great way of bringing different church conversations together.”

As well as St Aldate’s Church, churches that usually take part include St Ebbe’s, Oxford Community Church, Emmanuel Church, East Oxford, St Andrew’s Church in North Oxford and Headington Baptist Church.

Mr Tranter said Emmanuel Church, which meets at Magdalen College School in Cowley Place, was in charge of organising this year’s Love Oxford.

The festival started in Broad Street, but was switched to the park in 2009 after noise concerns.

Mr Tranter added that it was not yet known if there would be any public tribute to Joanna Braithwaite at the Love Oxford section of the celebrations on July 9.

Miss Braithwaite, 34, who worked at St Aldate’s Church, died in a road accident in North Oxford last October.

She worked at St Aldate’s as PA to the rector, the Rev Charlie Cleverly, and helped to organise the Love Oxford festival.

Mr Tranter added: “People from St Aldate’s and other churches will certainly take the opportunity to remember Joanna, but we don’t know yet whether that will be communicated to the audience.”