There will be an Advent Carol Service at St Mary Moorfields Church, London on Tuesday 2 December at 7pm. The service has been organised by Aid to the Church in Need and aims to draw attention to the suffering Christians in Iraq. Fr Peter Newby will be the celebrant and the service will conclude with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The music will be sung by The Schola Cantorum of The London Oratory School, one of the choirs which I direct. In the introduction to the Order of Service, Neville Kyrke-Smith, the UK National Director of Aid to the Church in Need writes:
Driven from their homes by violence and terrorist threats to ‘leave or die’, huge numbers have fled in panic with only the clothes they were wearing and a few possessions. Most do not have money for essentials. Helpless, these families are turning to the Church for comfort and support – relying on the charity and compassion of fellow Christians in this, their hour of need.
Using trusted Church networks, Aid to the Church in Need is providing immediate food, shelter and medicine, as well as emotional and spiritual support – especially for young children, traumatised by their experiences. With your help, we will remain alongside these communities for as long as they need us.
The long-term future of Christianity in the region is uncertain as terrorist groups, intent on extinguishing the flame of faith, are wiping out churches, monasteries and ancient texts. Indeed, with no priests left – for the first time in 1,600 years – Holy Mass will not be offered in Mosul this Christmas.
On Monday Islamic militants destroyed one of Mosul's oldest churches as well as a convent. A wave of evil has been unleashed and rampages unchecked and largely ignored by the mainstream media. The service next week aims to bring the suffering Christians of Iraq into our minds and prayers, as well as drawing attention to the very real and practical need for funds. If you feel able to contribute, please visit ACN's website here.