Nature's cathedral was the setting for the combined church service on Good Friday where more than 300 people gathered.

The Redwoods were alive with the sound of music flowing through the branches as people across all denominations of the Christian faith united to mark one of the most significant events in the Christian calendar.

The occasion began with the procession of the cross, which started at the Redwoods Shopping Centre at 9am and journeyed down Long Mile Rd.

It started small but the closer the group got to the sails the larger and louder they grew.

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Crowds from churches across Rotorua met under the sails on Easter Friday for a combined church service. Photo / Stephen Parker
Crowds from churches across Rotorua met under the sails on Easter Friday for a combined church service. Photo / Stephen Parker

Karri-Anne Vercoe-Black from the Elim Church walked with the cross procession with her mum and noted it was smaller than recent years but she was happy that all the churches could come together and celebrate the core of the faith - Jesus Christ.

"He is more than a prophet to us and we remember that because a lot of us have come from real brokenness.

"The common denominator of Jesus has pulled us out of that miry clay, so what happened to us does not determine who we are and Jesus offers us another hope.

"When we all come together on that agreement it is really special."

More and more people joined the procession as the cross moved down Long Mile Rd. Photo / Stephen Parker
More and more people joined the procession as the cross moved down Long Mile Rd. Photo / Stephen Parker

Hundreds of people were already gathered under the sails when the cross arrived, while hundreds more were still arriving as the service began at 10am.

Rotorua Association of Christian Churches chairman Reverend Scott Clifford said the joint service had been going for 13 years to bring together all of the denominations.

"This is our biggest combined service of the year so it doesn't take into consideration denominational lines instead we chose this day of the year to focus on this thing that unites us."

Clifford had brought the combined service idea from where he was in California to Rotorua and said although it took a while to get it off the ground it has since taken off.

The procession of the cross started small at the Redwoods Shopping Centre. Photo / Stephen Parker
The procession of the cross started small at the Redwoods Shopping Centre. Photo / Stephen Parker

"It is exciting to see it grow every year. We started out at the City Focus and now it is in this amazing venue in the Redwoods.

"We moved it from the heart of the city to the soul of the city in Redwoods."

The service commemorates Good Friday, the day Christians believe Jesus was crucified.