Over 150 Christians, from differing traditions, came together at ‘The Friends of the Holy Land’ carol service at Lichfield Cathedral.

Standing shoulder to shoulder, they prayed for peace and a greater understanding of the difficulties faced by Christians living in the Holy Land today.

The non-denominational nature of the occasion was underlined by the presence of the very Revd Adrian Dorber, Dean of Lichfield, and the Rt Rev David McGough, Bishop for the RC Archdiocese of Birmingham, who jointly officiated at last week's service.

At Christmas Christians from around the world focus their attention on the ‘little town of Bethlehem’, but unfortunately, the season of ‘peace and goodwill’ is not always reflected in lives of Christians living in the West Bank and Jerusalem today.

Bethlehem’s Christians are increasingly fleeing what has become a virtual prison for their community, and their continued exodus means there is a very real danger the Holy Land might become a museum to a Christian past with no indigenous Christians left at all.

The very Revd. Adrian Dorber said: “We express our care for and solidarity with all the people in the land of Christ’s birth, praying for them in their suffering and giving thanks for their faith and resilience.

"May the joy and generosity of the evening strengthen the work of the Friends of the Holy Land. May our determination for peace and justice, our prayer and concern, be instruments in God’s hands, so that his will may be done and his kingdom may come.”

Those attending the service were treated to beautiful carol singing by the Cathedral choir and exquisite musical recitals by harpist Mali Llewellyn Cook and classical guitarist Ella Jiggins, both under the tutelage of Cathedral school musical director Laura Borenstein.

After the service many stayed on to enjoy refreshments and to purchase gifts of olive wood crafted in the Christian workshops of Bethlehem.

Maria McCaffery, FHL Chief Executive, said: “We are very grateful to the Dean of Lichfield Cathedral for making this service possible.

"In the last 12 months, we have supported over 2,000 named Christians families in the Holy Land. This includes help to over 100 Iraqi Christian refugees in Amman in Jordan, forced to flee their homes because of their faith.

"In nine years we have raised over £3.7 million to support the neediest Christians living the West Bank, Gaza, Israel and Jordan.

"This carol service afforded an opportunity to give thanks for the generous donations of time and money we receive, and to underline our non-denominational approach.

"Through FHL UK Christians of all traditions can show their Christian family in Bethlehem, and throughout the Holy Land, that their situation is not forgotten or ignored.”

FHL has a number of active supporter groups across the country, anyone interested in knowing more or becoming part of a group should contact the FHL office 01926 512980 [email protected]

To donate to FHL this Christmas to help their work supporting Christians living in the West Bank, Gaza, Israel Jordan please do so through their website www.friendsoftheholyland.org.uk

Photo Gallery

FHL Carol Service at Lichfield Cathedral 2018