CHRISTIANS across York will mark the Diamond Jubilee with music, prayer, flowers and a Big Lunch.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, will start the celebrations by opening the grounds of Bishopthorpe Palace for a gala on Saturday, before hosting a sold-out Party Of The Palace in the evening with Riding Lights Theatre Company, the Goosehorns and local artists.

He will be among many giving thanks to God at church services across the Diocese of York on Sunday.

Parishes and congregations will hold their own celebrations, with many taking part in the Big Jubilee Lunch, the nationwide celebration that includes street parties.

The Archbishop of York said: “The Queen’s love and devotion to God and to her people throughout her 60 year reign has set us a fine example of selfless and generous service. Like many others, I am looking forward to her Diamond Jubilee and wanted to make the grounds available to local people to mark this occasion. It’s wonderful that the Party At The Palace’ is sold out.

The church celebrations on the Diamond Jubilee weekend include:

• St Michael le Belfrey, York: Jubilation Café on Saturday from 10am to 4pm and a street party from 4pm on its forecourt followed by a service on the Sunday.

• St Barnabas, Leeman Road: joint street party with the Jubilee pub on Saturday and a thanksgiving service on Sunday at 10.15am.

• St Edward, Dringhouses: flower festival with a statuette of the Queen used at the Coronation and the Silver Jubilee celebrations.

• All Saints’ Church, Huntington: family fun day on Saturday from 11am with a choir concert at 7pm and a Big Jubilee Cream Tea from 2pm to 5pm followed by a Jubilee Songs of Praise on Sunday.

• St Philip and St James Church, Clifton with St Mark’s, Rawcliffe: Jubilee picnic on Kingsway North on Sunday at noon and a Jubilee service and picnic on Rawcliffe Recreation Ground on Sunday at 11am.

• St Helen and the Holy Cross Church, Sheriff Hutton: Service at 11am on Sunday followed by a bring and share lunch, coffee morning at 10am on Monday and a live relay of the national Jubilee Service at St Paul’s, London, on Tuesday followed by the Big Jubilee Lunch.

• St Mary’s Church, Haxby: exhibition in the church all weekend and a hog roast after a service on the Sunday.

• St Mary’s Church, Strensall: flower festival, Big Jubilee Lunch on the Sunday followed by a Songs of Praise service at 4pm.

• St John the Baptist and All Saints’ Church, Easingwold: outdoor service at Easingwold Memorial Park on Sunday.