Christians across the UK enjoyed beautiful scenes from Lindisfarne this weekend as the island of Northumberland hosted Songs of Praise’s Easter Sunday broadcast.
BBC One’s religious programme, which has been on our screens since 1961, celebrated the Tidal Island’s centuries-old Christian heritage and explored its significance for people of that faith today.
Featuring two hymns sung by parishioners at St Mary’s Church on the island, as well as a number of songs from churches and cathedrals across the country, the show shone the spotlight on pilgrims who, since nearly 50, travel to the island on foot every Easter.
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Northern Cross pilgrims have made an annual journey of over 100 miles on foot carrying crosses to Lindisfarne during Holy Week (the week before Easter Sunday) since 1976. They always make the last few miles, through the pavement, with bare feet, and this year they were joined by Sean Fletcher, presenter of Songs Of Praise.
Pilgrim Pete Coppola told him the trip to the island, which was one of the most important centers of early Christianity in Britain, was “the best way to celebrate Easter”.
Explaining the importance of barefoot walking, he said: “It’s part of penance to go on pilgrimage. It’s remembering Good Friday, Jesus going up to Calvary and carrying the cross, and that’s what what we are doing. This is our journey, our walk of witness.
“Everyone is welcome to come and walk together, to share fellowship and worship. It’s great to be back at Lindisfarne, it’s the best way to celebrate Easter.”
Did you spot Holy Island on Songs of Praise this Sunday? Share your opinion in the comments below
Alongside discussions of the island’s Christian history and a segment on the famous Lindisfarne Gospels with the Vicar of Holy Island, Reverend Canon Dr Sarah Hills, presenter Sean also met with visitors to the island who make part of the Birmingham-based Urband Change Makers programme, supporting people to make a positive impact in their inner city communities. They said the visit to the island was deeply inspiring.
One woman, whose name was only given as Clare, said: ‘I didn’t grow up going to church, but I’ve been around a lot of people who go to church and I don’t never thought church was for me. Coming to Holy Island for the first time, I felt like I was getting there… I had an experience last week where I felt arms around me and felt this overwhelming love. I truly felt accepted by God and I’ve never experienced anything like this before.”
The beauty of the spiritually significant island also moved many who watched the Easter Sunday programme.
One viewer tweeted: “So excited to see #SongsOfPraise coming from the holy isle of Lindisfarne… I am coming to you soon, Lindisfarne!”
Another said there was ‘no better place for Easter Sunday’ than the history-steeped island, while another viewer called the island ‘beautiful’.