Boris Johnson delivers his Easter message to the country
The Prime Minister and leader of the opposition paid tribute to Christians in their Easter messages to the nation and spoke of "hope and renewal" and "brighter days ahead".
The Prime Minister acknowledged Covid restrictions meant many families were unable to celebrate in the normal way this year, but said "the arrival of Easter brings with it new hope".
Boris Johnson paid tribute to the way in which Christians had shown the teachings of Jesus Christ, and said the message of his death and resurrection "permeate through every aspect of daily life".
"That’s why I’ve lost count of the number of church leaders and congregations that have stepped up to support us all in these very challenging times," Mr Johnson said.
Meanwhile, the Labour leader paid tribute to the Christian community for its work supporting others during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sir Keir Starmer said he was “in awe” of their efforts over the past 12 months.
“The Christian community has always been there for the marginalised and for those that need support and help, but over the last year that has shone through so strong and so visible for everybody to see,” he said.
“Whether that’s work in churches with food banks, I’ve seen so many in our churches supplying food to those that need it in our communities.
“Whether it’s vaccine centres in our church or just the pure volunteering and looking out for people within our communities.
“Thank you for everything you’ve done during this pandemic. Thank you for all that support and community spirit.”
He added: “I know Easter is a special time for Christians. It’s a time for hope and renewal. And, as we come out of this pandemic, I think those values will be so important to us as a nation.”
Their message of hope comes as the country reached the milestone of having fully vaccinated more than 5 million people against Covid-19.
Care home residents were also given the good news on Saturday that they would be permitted two visitors from mid-April, with children and babies permitted to bubble with two adults to visit loved one.
Questions remain, however, about the next stages of lockdown easing - with the government facing pressure over potential plans to introduce vaccine passports of some kind.
The Prime Minister's Easter message in full:
Happy Easter to everyone who is celebrating today.
I know that for many people that means chocolate eggs and the Easter bunny and hot cross buns and all the rest of it and I will certainly be joining in.
But let’s not lose sight of the fact that this is Christianity’s most important festival.
And that, while churches are open, the ongoing Coronavirus restrictions mean that once again it won’t be possible for many Christians to mark Easter in the way that they would like.
But if there’s one thing British Christians have shown us this year it’s that Jesus Christ is “the way, and the truth, and the life” not just today but every day.
His teachings, and the message of his death and resurrection, permeate through every aspect of daily life.
That’s why I’ve lost count of the number of church leaders and congregations that have stepped up to support us all in these very challenging times.
Millions of Good Samaritans, each of them showing what loving thy neighbour as thyself really looks like in 21st century Britain.
And having done all that during the darkest days of the pandemic, churches across the UK are now helping us light the path out of it by opening their doors as vaccination centres.
It’s really, very moving to see it.
This has been a very tough 12 months.
But, as ever, the arrival of Easter brings with it new hope.
And, this year more than ever, it brings the promise of brighter days ahead for us all.
So stay safe, keep following the rules, and have a very happy Easter.
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