AN ANGLICAN priest decided to forgo mince pies,
stockings, and midnight mass this Christmas, and spent the festive
period at a Jewish conference instead.
The Revd Patrick Morrow, who is programme manager for
the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ), decided, for the first
time, to stay at the Limmud Conference at the University of
Warwick, on Christmas Day.
Apart from a brief excursion to Coventry Cathedral
for a Christmas service, Mr Morrow spent the whole day at Limmud
workshops and events. He said: "I have volunteered at Limmud for a
number of years, and I thought I would go for full immersion into
the whole experience. It was immensely moving being there.
"It really surprised the Jews that I did not go [to
church] on Christmas Eve," he said. "But they could not have been
more welcoming. I explained that I would normally be [at church],
but I worked for the Council of Christians and Jews, and I thought
that once in a lifetime I was allowed to absent myself from my
The Limmud Conference, which has taken place each
December since 1980, features talks, discussions, music, films, and
crafts, among other things. Mr Morrow told the Church
Times that he had thoroughly enjoyed his alternative
He said: "It was a very relaxed Christmas Day, not
being responsible for Christmas services. It is good not to feel
trapped by the sense that one has to be doing 101 things during
those Christmas days.
"When I returned [from church on Christmas Day] I
threw myself back into the maelstrom of these workshops - it's not
unlike Greenbelt, with so much going on at once. It was beyond
words - wonderful. I have learned such a lot about Judaism, and I
even got to worship alongside the Chief Rabbi."