There was a very happy gathering of folk from six local churches here on the evening of Wednesday, 2 December. As hosts, the Worship Committee selected the theme: Jesus Then, Jesus Now - What does the Christmas Story say to us today?
It was clear that every group had spent a lot of time considering the theme and deciding how to express their response to it, resulting in an enjoyable and thought-provoking occasion.
A talented group of four musicians and a gifted young singer from the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in City Beach gave a very polished and upbeat rendition of The Magnificat, as well as an ancient hymn of veneration in Latin; the Agape choir from Our Lady of the Rosary in Woodlands tied the parts of the evening together with verses from The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy. Both groups also led the congregational singing (with piano by our very own Victor).
Linking the story of the Innkeeper with the current refugee crisis, other members of OLR brought the story right up to date, while two `shepherds` from the Community of Christ in Woodlands reflected (in contemporary language) on the events of the birth night from their point of view. Our friends from the Church of Christ let us know how difficult it is to think of how to tell an old story in a new way, and solved this by having one of their number read (very beautifully!) the poem Journey of the Magi by T S Elliot.
Four `angels` from St Paul's Anglican had chosen appropriate verses which were read at various times during the proceedings and also provided us with two videos, one of which - Angels Among Us - was played as part of the service and the other - A Digital Story of Christmas - enlivened supper time!
Karen and Neville, in their usual way, did us proud and Nev was joined in the final blessing by Fr Emmanuel, the Nigerian priest at City Beach.
Immediately following the benediction, the traditional cake (baked and decorated by Maxine) was brought to the table and cut by Karen and Fr Jack Thomson from St Paul`s, the hosts for 2016.
As Karen observed, ecumenical worship is. alive and well in this little part of the world. There was certainly a great sense of love and community as we joined in greeting the Advent Season.