International flavour to Lowestoft nativity

A SWEDISH Joseph and an Australian Mary will team up on Saturday to bring a taste of the first ever Christmas to Lowestoft.

An open air nativity will hit town in a special performance by the Christ Church - the most easterly parish church in the UK - team at Sparrows Nest Gardens at 4pm.

After more than 500 people turned out to hear the true story of Christmas last year, the nativity is back by by popular demand once more.

The birth of Jesus will be presented with a narrator reading from the bible, and adult actors, real animals, and a real baby in the manger. The stable will be in the bandstand, with shepherds and wise men arriving, and a music band to play favourite Christmas carols for everyone to sing.

This year Joseph will be played by Markus Kankaanpaa, the new Youthworker at Christ Church, who is Swedish. Mary will be played by his wife Nicole, who is Australian.

The couple met three years ago while both living in Belgium, and were married in July this year. Markus said: 'For me, Christmas without much snow seems really strange: it has to be at least three feet deep! But Nicole is more used to a barbie on the beach on Christmas day.'

Vicar of Christ Church, Revd Matthew Payne said: 'We want to present the true story of Christmas, as realistic as possible - and it is an international message, for every nationality to hear.'

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Admission is free, and everyone is welcome, but all children must come with an adult, and numbers are limited for safety reasons. There will be a charity collection in aid of Tearfund, in support of it's international relief work.

The show will go on, whatever the weather, so wrap up warm, and bring your family and friends along. There will be a free car park opposite the Sparrows Nest Gardens on Whapload Road, and the public access will be via the main corner gate corner, or down the footpath from the A12 top gate. Other gates will be closed.

The nativity will be produced by church member Reg Parker and a large team of church members, and directed by Matthew's wife Roz (who has performed with the Lowestoft Players). Christ Church wishes to thank Waveney District Council for their kind permission, advice and support, and also Martello's Cafe, Suffolk Police, St John's Ambulance and the Lowestoft Cine Club, for their co-operation and assistance.

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