Members of Ayr’s Riverside Church are looking forward to celebrating Easter and seeing people again.

Riverside Evangelical Church, Ayr held its first face-to-face service since Christmas Eve on Sunday.

Having celebrated last Easter and most of the last year online, Pastor Ian Gall says it’s a great time to get back to services, despite some restrictions still being enforced.

He told the Advertiser: “It’s great to be able return to services in the church and actually see people.

“Although we can’t have full capacity and people still need to social distance and wear face coverings, it’s great to see actual people again. But people miss not being able to sing.

“For a lot of people, it’s become a lifeline for them. The last few months have been hard but I think with the easing of restrictions and the vaccine coming out, it’s given everyone a bit of a lift”.

The church switched to virtual services over the last year so that people could still be involved.

Pastor Gall said it was one of the positives to be taken from the situation, adding: “We’ve invested in new technology over the past year so that we could deliver our services.

“That’s something we will be looking at continuing, despite people being allowed back in the church.

“It allows people to be involved when they maybe can’t physically attend a service for one reason or another”.

People will have to book a place at a service in advance so the church can implement the relevant guidance. Easter Sunday’s service booked out almost instantly, but people can still tune in via a live stream.

Pastor Gall said the easing of restrictions has come at a good time so they can celebrate Easter.

He added: “The government has maybe realised that this is such an important time in the church calendar.

“It’s a very positive and important time, usually. To be able to celebrate Easter in any capacity is huge for us and it’s a major step forward”.

The church emphasised that they will be following all government guidance strongly and they will be looking to continue their good work throughout the community, including working with NHS addiction services and delivering more outreach street work.