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On November 11, 2007, over 150 people gathered inside St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney, to celebrate the Christmas Story and raise funds for The Mission to Seafarers (MtS) at the society's annual Carol Concert. St Dunstan’s has been the literal and spiritual home to generations of seafarers.

The seafaring connection is so strong that for many years “Born in Stepney” was synonymous with “born at sea”, as many on-board baptisms’ certificates were sent to the rector of St Dunstan’s. Today the medieval church is situated in a diverse and multicultural community located between the City and Canary Wharf.

This special event was held to pray for all the seafarers who are far away from their loved ones and their homes as well as support all MtS' activities throughout the year. The MtS makes a continued huge effort trying to bring some joy, support and comfort to those who are thousands of miles away from home. The MtS also opens their centres on Christmas Eve in order to hold services, provide telephone lines and a chance to write an e-mail to their families. The MtS is helping in over 230 ports all over the world, having welcomed 613,070 seafarers in its centres, connected 220,000 international calls on behalf of seafarers. If you’d like to find out more on how to support  the Mission To Seafarers please follow this link.

In the presence of the society's President, HRH The Princess Royal, and with Nat as one of the guest readers, the packed church raised the roof with the enthusiastic singing of popular carols.

The 60-minute concert was opened by the welcome of Revd Christopher Burke, who’s the Rector of Stepney. The outstanding voices of The Thames Chamber Choir mixed with the congregation to the melody of "O Come, All Ye Faithful". The opening reading was done by Nat from Luke 1 verse 26-38 (The Annunciation to Mary).

Right after the first reading we had the pleasure to listen to the angelic voices of the Stepney Greencoat Church of England primary school choir who brought a charming contribution to the evening with their three songs including "Thou Visitest the Earth", “Ding-dong-ding” and "Children Want Peace".

Stepney Greencoat Church of England primary school choir

The next reading was done by Robert Woods, the Chairman to the Mission To Seafarers (Luke 2 verse 1-7 The Birth Of Jesus) and together we sang “Once in Royal David’s City”. We listened to the words of Luke 2 verse 8 16 (The Shepherds Go To The Manger) read to us by HRH The Princess Royal. The Thames Chamber Choir gave two brilliant performances of “O Magnum Mysterium” and “Adam lay y bounden”.

Then Nat added his second contribution to that evening - a dramatic reading of T.S. Eliot's "Journey of the Magi". In perfect transition we then had the joy to hear Britten’s “A boy was born” again in a wonderful interpretation by the Thames Chamber Choir plus a jolly version of the carol “I Saw Three Ships” - a carol which fitted perfectly with the surroundings of the church known as the Historic Church of the High Seas. The final reading was done by Revd Canon Bill Christianson – he read John 1 verse1-14 (The Incarnation of the Word of God) to us.

The Thames Chamber Choir with Nat reading T.S. Eliot.

The true meaning of Christmas was underlined by everyone joining in “Hark, the Harald angels sing”. The Carol Concert was over and afterwards, HRH The Princess Royal, the society's President, Nat and all the other contributors chatted with the supportive crowd as they enjoyed a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie to the sounds of the bells ringing in the Christmas season.

Revd Canon Bill Christianson, secretary general of MtS and Nat
 HRH The Princess Royal and Nat

Thanks to the press department of MtS for providing us exclusively with the pictures. All rights reserved for
PicturePartnership / MtS.


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