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Celebrating Christmas around the world

Carols at home: Amy Buxton with her children Erin (5) and Rosie (3) taking part in an online service with St Thomas More Catholic Church in Twyford

FRIENDS from across the world were brought together by the annual carol service run by St Thomas More Catholic Church, Twyford and our Lady of Peace Catholic Church, Wargrave.

Holding the service online by Zoom meant joyful, and emotional, reunions between former parishioners now living in the United States, Canada and Italy and the current congregation.

Among them was Francesca Kimbell, formerly Kelly, from Twyford who now lives in North Carolina with her husband Jeff and their two children.

MC for the evening was Peter Needham with Quentin Knowlson organising Zoom.

Children and other young people did readings from the Christmas story, sang, signed and danced. The congregation sang carols. As traditional and much-loved, the service ended with everyone singing The 12 Days of Christmas.

“As Zoomers will know, different broadband speeds mean communal singing on Zoom sounds fairly chaotic unless songsters all mute themselves. We decided for this song we’d chance everyone leaving their microphones on,” said Peter Needham.

“It was a bit chaotic, but actually wonderful to sing together. We’ve been holding masses in church, as allowed, with people booking their places, but the Covid restrictions have meant we can’t sing together as a congregation.

“People have joined the masses online as well.

“The carol service was great, it was so good to all be ‘together’ for our traditional annual event.”

The church held a children’s Christmas Eve mass and Christmas Vigil mass at St Thomas More and Christmas Day masses at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church, Wargrave and at St Thomas More.

In the summer, when rules relaxed, the church’s open air masses in the St Thomas More car park had an average of over 100 people attending.

Mass times and other details are at the church website www.catholicchurchtwyford.org.

To receive the weekly email bulletin contact Jane Kelly at stmtwyford@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk. Details for Zooming masses and booking a place at services are in the bulletin.

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