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Christmas forest

20 December 2013

Dave Bradshaw

NO FEWER than 60 Christmas trees filled Willowfield Parish Church, in the Church of Ireland diocese of Down & Dromore. The Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Richard Clarke, came to switch on their lights, which shone for several days in the middle of December.

They had been decorated in two different ways: 20 or so artificial trees focused on common seasonal traditions, such as Advent calendars, snowmen, and Santa; but the natural trees - which made up the majority - took up the Christmas story, with scenes and characters from the nativity, as well as illustrated Bible verses and themes of Christmas carols.

Dr Clarke described them all as absolutely wonderful. "The ingenuity of it is fantastic. It's lovely to see also the move from the secular idea of Christmas through to the actual Christian message of Christmas."

There were also refreshments, and stalls selling craftwork, jams, and chutneys. All the donations were going towards the redevelopment of the church hall, which is much used for youth, community, and children's work.

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