Outdoor Christmas services for Christchurch

8:03 am on 25 December 2011

Many Christchurch churchgoers will be attending Christmas services outdoors, for safety reasons.

Anglican services in the greater Christchurch area will be held outside because engineers have not had a chance to check buildings since the new wave of earthquakes on Friday.

Bishop Victoria Matthews said gathering outdoors will avoid any chance of having large numbers of people in a closed space in the event of another large quake.

Father Bernard Carney of Saint Mary's Pro-Cathedral in the central city said his congregation will have mass on the front lawn because at the moment the only safe place to worship is outside.

The Reverend Rob Ferguson of St Ninian's Presbyterian Church in Riccarton said the stone church is sound, but the Christmas service will still be held in a lounge close by, in order to allay people's fears.

Cathedral suffers more damage

Christchurch Cathedral suffered further damage in Friday's earthquakes.

Cathedral Dean Peter Beck said officials on a flyover inspection of the city reported the western wall, which housed the rose window, had all but collapsed.

He said it was too soon to know what the damage will mean for prospects of rebuilding the cathedral.

The Dean said the latest quakes were a psychological knockback for Christchurch people but he was confident they will overcome.