It was an emotional evening in Devizes this week, as the congregation of St John's came together to sing for the first time since last March.

Rules on outdoor congregational singing have been relaxed and so it was possible to sing compline in the churchyard.

The evening service took place as the sun fell beneath the horizon, and the voices of the church choir spilled across the town centre.

People stood in household bubbles during the open air service, which lasted near to 30 minutes.

"It was really a very moving experience for me personally, as well as the congregation," said Rev’d Gerry Lynch.

"This was the first time the congregation had been able to sing together for over a year.

"There was something very moving and powerfully spiritual about singing those ancient plainsong rhythms in the church yard as the birds sang and darkness fell.

"It was absolutely magical."

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

Communal worship has been allowed to continue throughout England’s lockdown, with indoor capacity depending on risk assessments on the venue services are held.

Rev’d Lynch added: "The last time our congregation would have been able to sing a hymn would have been about March 22.

"This has obviously been a remarkable, disruptive and often very disturbing and lonely year for people. It hasn't been any different for the members of our congregation.

"We can't be certain of what will happen, but given how fast the vaccine rollout has gone and how case numbers are now falling, I think we can start to be hopeful."

The choir of St John's have also held an Easter Hymn service, which can be viewed here

More events held by the church include:  

Easter Day, 4 April, 10.30 am – Festival Eucharist (Common Worship)  Live Streamed via Facebook 

Wednesday, 7 April, 5.30 pm – Evening Prayer (Book of Common Prayer) on Zoom        

Low Sunday, 11 April, 9 am – Morning Prayer (Book of Common Prayer) on Zoom   

Low Sunday, 11 April, 10.30 am – Eucharist at St John’s (Common Worship) Live Streamed via Facebook