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Dear Friends,

Christmas is approaching fast and there is plenty to enjoy in the Church of the Resurrection.  On Sunday our children will present a Nativity Play in our 10 a.m. Sunday Eucharist.  They have been rehearsing the play with enthusiasm and I am looking forward to the production.  Do come along and watch.  At 7 p.m. on the following Wednesday. 12th December, we will hold our traditional Service of Nine Lessons and Carols.  Here is a chance to hear again the reason why we celebrate Christmas described in the eloquent words of Scripture and to sing with gusto those familiar carols.  Afterwards there will be seasonal refreshments to enjoy.  When we reach Christmas there will be Midnight Mass at 11.30 p.m. on Christmas Eve and a Family Communion at 10 a.m. on Christmas Day.  All are most welcome to attend, and we look forward to welcoming those who are visiting Bucharest for Christmas.  If you will be away from Bucharest for the festival I am sure that there willl be a church near you where you can join us in prayer and celebration of Our Saviour’s birth.

I will also remind you that at 4 p.m. on Saturday there will be a Fish and Chips evening at the Intercontinental Hotel, with mulled wine, a three course meal, children’s activities, and other delights.  In case you were thinking of coming and have not yet acted now is the time to do so!  Tickets are avaiable for 200 RON for adults and 100 RON for children between 6 and 12.  The event is free chidren under 6.  You may pay by bank transfer to our church account with ING Bank (RO23INGB0000999902935717) or contact Lillah Houghton.

There are two more concerts to enjoy in church this month.  Tonight at 7 p.m. the Diplomatic Choir will be giving its annual Christmas Concert.  Members of the choir are drawn from a variety of different countries, and they will be presenting a varied musical bill of seasonal fare. Admission is free and there will be a retiring collection for church funds.  At 7 p.m. on 20th December Collegio Stravagante will be performing with our organist Adina Cocargeanu a programme of baroque chamber music.  Tickets for this concert will be available at the door for 10 RON.

Last Wednesday I was invited to Lambeth Palace to attend a farewell reception arranged by Archbishop Rowan Williams for his ecumenical partners.  After Evensong in the Chapel with an excellent homily delivered by the Archbishop we had a jovial party in the Guard Room.  The variety of Christian traditions represented was very striking and the Archbishop made the point that this gathering was much more varied than it would have been even twenty years ago, with enthusiastic participation by representatives of the black-led churches, the Orthodox and the Nordic Lutherans, to name just a few of the many who were crowded into the room.  We were reminded of the great variety of forms of Christian faith to be found in contemporary Britain.  The guests gave Archbishop Rowan an appreciative and affectionate farewell.  Now we look forward to the arrival of his successor Bishop Justin Welby.  It is not an easy job, and he will certainly appreciate our prayers as he prepares to move to Canterbury.

On Sunday evening there was an enjoyable concert of music for viola and organ performed by Dieter Stanzeleit and Adina Cocargeanu.  The church provides an excellent setting for concerts, and I look forward to more such events in the futureming months. This year has seen a great variety of concerts, from baroque instrumental to choral and Nordic Jazz!

For the week-end around 16th December I will be travelling to Sofia. There as usual we will hold our Christmas celebrations early, with a Sunday morning Eucharist and an evening Carol Service in the British Ambassador’s Residence, so that I can be safely back in Bucharest for Christmas itself!

I know that many will be returning to their home countries for Christmas and I hope that they will have safe travelling and an enjoyable holiday.  For those that remain here I hope that they will be able to attend our Christmas services.  In either case I hope that you will remember us at the Church of the Resurrection in your prayers. Wherever you are for Christmas we can rejoice together at the glad tidings of Christ’s Birth, God’s very special present to us…and a gift for us to share.

With best wishes for a very happy Christmas,

Father Patrick