Service swings with Rhythm Syndicate |Photos, video

Every year the Jazz Festival features an ecumenical service on the Sunday and this year it was held at Club Sapphire.

Normally arranged for the Catholic Church which is the largest church in Merimbula, plans were thrown into question this year after a severe hail storm damaged the roof. After it was realised the roof contained asbestos, the grounds had to be fenced off before any work could start.

As it was uncertain whether the work would be finished in time for the Jazz Festival it was decided to hold the service in Club Sapphire.

Probably just as well because there was an estimated 320 people attending the service which featured the Rhythm Syndicate, the Sapphire Life Church singers, band and dancers as well as visiting jazz goers.

Under the spiritual leadership of Pastor Jeremy Fernando with assistance from the Uniting Church's David Russell and the Anglican Rector Lou Oakes, the service was a lively and uplifting celebration.

Pastor Fernando spoke of his own journey having been born in the UK of Sri Lankan parents and coming to Australian as a three-year-old. He talked about the wilderness blues experienced by those who are troubled, are lost or lonely and the joy of singing, music and prayer songs.

The service always finishes with a rousing chorus of When the Saints Go Marching In and this was no exception with the congregation standing to sing, sway and clap their way through the music, lead by Rhythm Syndicate.