Angels at work in Oldham this Christmas
25 December 2018 IN: Parish News
Oldham Parish Church was privileged to host the live BBC broadcast of its Christmas Day service this morning on BBC1. The church was chosen because of the work it does in the community. The service was led by Rector, The Revd Derek Palmer, and the Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker presided.
Viewers heard about the work of the Oldham Street Angels, who work every weekend to help keep people safe on the streets during a night out. They also run a drop-in for rough sleepers. One of the Angels, Jemma Heap, said, "We aim to keep people away from unnecessary visits to A&E and ensure that they get back safely. As a member of this church, it's a very practical way of demonstrating Christ's love for all people."
In addition to the Street Angels, the church ran a nightshelter this year which is being expanded in January. Christians and Muslims work together on the nightshelter project to serve members of the community who are most in need. "The things we can do together are greater than those that would divide us," said Nasim Ashraf, who coordinated local mosques to provide emergency shelter for homeless people.
In his address, Revd Palmer said, "God still comes into this world. Christmas still happens. It happens all the time. Christmas isn’t just about Mary and Joseph and the baby and the manger and no room at the inn. Christmas is about us. It is about opening ourselves up to what God is trying to do today. And it’s about telling God that, even if we don’t fully understand what it means, there is room for him in our lives, and we want to be part of what he is doing. "
"The real test of Christmas is whether we have opened our hearts to God, and let his love fill us, forgive us and change us. May that be something we do this Christmas, and always. Amen."