WORSHIPPERS from across Oxford celebrated their faith in the heart of the city yesterday.

Church members from congregations lined Broad Street for the 10th Love Oxford event.

The sound of hymns, songs and prayers echoed throughout the city centre, as visitors to the Christian festival enjoyed the celebrations.

Event manager Lydia Smith said organisers had been working since 4am to prepare for the grand open-air service, despite waking to showers and cloudy skies.

The 24-year-old, from East Oxford, added: “I think unity of churches is really important and to do that in a public square is a privilege.”

Charlie Cleverly, rector of St Aldate’s Church, welcomed the crowds of families who had gathered in Broad Street from 11am.

Songs of praise boomed across the street from the festival’s centre stage, with visitors lifting their hands to the skies in worship.

Prayers for the city’s residents were met with cheers before a few moments of silence were held to mark the end of the sermons.

Church leaders also took the time to speak of their work within the city, including with Oxford’s students.

Lauren Harris travelled with husband Luke and their one-year-old son Samuel to enjoy the celebrations.

Mrs Harris, worship director at St Aldate’s Church, said: “It’s really good that all the different churches have come together.

“The Church supports a lot of things that happen throughout the city. It’s good to be together because it gives you a great awareness of what’s happening across the city.

“We love going to church as a family, it’s really great that the kids were welcomed at Love Oxford.”

During the festivities, Emmanuel Church Oxford’s pastor Matt Partridge urged guests to donate cash to support the event, which he said costs about £30,000 to organise each year.

He also called on the city to donate funds to help families hit by the earthquake in Nepal.

Mr Partridge added: “The Christians in Oxford gathered and from this city to those cities, we send love.”

Oxford Mail:

Emma Herbert

Volunteer Emma Herbert said it was important for the Church to mix with residents in the city.

The 36-year-old, of Cowley, added: “It’s important to show we are for the city and we have a heart for it and we want good things to happen.”

Love Oxford began in the city centre street in 2005 before moving to South Park in 2009. The event returned to Broad Street this year after plans to hold it there last June were scrapped because of clashes with Oxford University exams.