CHRISTIANS have gathered at Easter Sunday services to celebrate Jesus Christ rising from the dead.
Anglican Bishop of Newcastle Dr Peter Stuart and Dean Katherine Bowyer led the 8am Sung Eucharist service at Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle.
"The angels said to the women 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who is crucified, he is not here for he has risen as he said'," Bishop Stuart said at the start.
"Blessed are you oh God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in your great mercy you have given us new birth into a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
"By your blessing may we who have prepared this garden in celebration of his victory be strengthened in faith, know the power of his presence and rejoice in the hope of eternal glory, for he is alive and reigns forever and ever, amen."
The congregation heard how Mary Magdalene had visited Jesus Christ's tomb and saw the stone at the entry had been removed, with only the linen that had wrapped his body left inside.
They heard how Mary Magdalene saw two angels inside the tomb, as well as Jesus Christ, who told her he was ascending to God.
Bishop Stuart said in his homily the women that day were afraid, but still went to the tomb and to share the good news with the apostles.
"Fear is real but it's not meant to stop us. We're told that 40 per cent of Australians will respond positively to an invitation to come to church from someone they trust, but most churchgoers are anxious about making such invitations," he said.
"Our witness is limited by our fear."
He said he spoke to others about Jesus Christ being the "greatest teacher the world has ever seen" and his lesson of loving one's enemies as powerful.
"I name Jesus the greatest teacher because his challenge has lasted in such a way that whenever it is followed, communities, lives and countries are changed."
He said he spoke to others about how the world had glimpsed God through Jesus and how Jesus was "God amongst us".
He said his resurrection changed the way people lived and showed death had been defeated and forgiveness was available to everyone forever.
"The world was meant to move towards a deeper love than it had ever experienced before."