A LANDMARK birthday is being celebrated today by Chelmsford worshippers - as the city’s diocese turns 100.

On January 23, 1914, the Diocese of Chelmsford which covers Essex and parts of east London was formed by the Church of England to serve churchgoers in the region.

Since then the diocese which has a population of more than three million people in it’s region came to life, it has grown to become the UK’s second largest.

It is also the largest voluntary organisation in Essex and east London with around 42,000 worshippers attending weekly services at the 600 churches on the patch.

Bishop of Chelmsford Stephen Cottrell said reaching the milestone is a fantastic feeling and there will be events throughout the year to commemorate the anniversary.

He added there is as much interest in the Christian faith locally today as there was back in 1914.

Bishop Stephen said: “We intend to celebrate our centenary by looking forwards.

“The reasons our diocese came into being a hundred years ago are just as relevant today as the church is here to serve people with the love of Jesus Christ.

“People today hunger and thirst for meaning and purpose in their lives.

“We may not be on the brink of a world war, like people were a hundred years ago, but we face conflicts and challenges of our own that require help and resources outside of ourselves.“ Along with church services, the diocese also visits schools and youth clubs to talk about Christianity.