Leigh Park churches welcome return of Christmas camels

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By Rev Jonathan Jeffrey, vicar of Leigh Park and Warren Park

WE’RE really excited about our Starlight Festival coming up this weekend – and the return of camels to the streets of Leigh Park.

Three real camels will be walking between St Francis Church and Park Parade Shopping Centre tomorrow to help publicise the Starlight Festival.

That festival is happening in St Francis Church from 10am-3pm and is designed to act as a marketplace for different community activities happening here in December. It’s free of charge.

It’s the second time we’ve welcomed camels. Back in 2016 we had a procession of camels to mark the start of our Community Nativity Play. And – just like then – they will be ridden by three local residents dressed as Magi, those wise men who visited the baby Jesus.

The camels will process to the shopping centre and back in the morning and spend the rest of the day at our church – along with three donkeys from Hayling Island.

Our Starlight Festival will include local dance and music groups, craft activities and refreshments. The police, scouts, foodbank, churches and community groups will be represented. And we’ll build on our Prayer Spaces in Schools initiative by providing quiet reflection areas as well.

Children from our local primary schools are also being invited to decorate stars that will be exhibited at the event.

More than 2,000 stars are being distributed in advance.

The message of the church is for all people, at all times, in all places.

Here in Leigh Park and Warren Park that is consistently the foundation for all we seek to be and all we try to do.

The Starlight Festival is another way to emphasise that message and to celebrate this community.

It will be followed next weekend with performances of our latest community pantomime – a production of Aladdin at St Clare’s in Warren Park, at 2pm and 6pm on December 1 and at 2pm on December 2.

For more details, or to book pantomime tickets (adults £2, children £1, families £5) contact us at jonathanjeffery7@btinternet.com or (023) 9247 5276.