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IMG 2483The Christmas cards are out in the shops, the social media memes have been in full flow since September and Tim Horton’s are already playing Christmas music; to most, it’s still too early, but our team have been in Christmas-planning mode since before the Summer and hearing jingle bells is just another sign that our Christmas Market is on its way…
Every year the Christmas Market provides an incredible opportunity for St Mary’s to engage with our community and over the years we’ve built a reputation for putting on a high-quality event that not only offers something for the whole family, but also raises a staggering amount of money for various charities. People come from all over to join in the fun and, for many, it can be their first experience of church. And what an experience it is! And what a testimony it is to people when they see a church having fun together, welcoming people in and raising money for some amazing causes.
But this year, we’re going beyond our immediate community. Our theme throughout Christmas will be “Belonging: Christmas is Community” and the market will be seeking to raise more than ever for communities both local to us, and across the globe. Our main charities this year are the Herridge Technical School in Burundi, which exists to be a refuge for orphans in Burundi, Africa, and Barnabus, who work to bring hope to the homeless in Manchester: two communities that will both massively benefit from the thousands we raise. But they’re just two of the charities being supported by our event. Every single stall will be raising money and so far it looks as though we will have at least nine charities represented. As well as stalls selling gift ideas, jams and chutneys, sweets and cakes, we’ll be serving good food, enjoying live music throughout and offering the opportunity to experience community of a different sort with the ‘Compassion Experience’.
Whether you’re a market regular, or this will be your first experience, you will not be disappointed. And we’d love you to join the St Mary’s community in helping us to pull this incredible event together. We still need volunteers to sign up – whether you can bake cakes, help set up stalls, offer a couple of hours on the day serving people or you’re a dab hand with a hoover at the end, there is absolutely a job for everyone. The event provides a great opportunity to meet new people so why not sign up at stmarysaom.org/Market to find out more about how you can get involved and keep an eye out for details of other ways you can help in the coming weeks.

Emma Atkinson 

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