Belfast Telegraph

75 Christmas trees light up to tell one special story

By Helen McDowell

Christmas trees made of books, brides' shoes and decorated with baby items aren't commonplace in the usual nativity story.

For Eglinton Presbyterian Church in North Belfast however, these trees, and 72 others, will form a focal point of its Christmas celebrations.

The Christmas tree festival, held from November 28 to December 1, will include a display of 75 trees, each decorated differently, telling the first Christmas story.

The Christmas tree festival is just one of the church's events in the year to celebrate its 75th anniversary at its current site on Ballysillan Road beside the Boys Model School.

Carol singers and choirs, along with mince pies, will be on hand to add to the festive spirit. The event will run daily from 4pm - 10pm and is free of charge.

Colin Morrison, Eglinton Presbyterian Church's Minister, said: "The Christmas story is one of the most special in the Bible. With all today's worries, pressures and children's Santa orders, it is very easy to forget the real meaning of Christmas. Through the Christmas tree festival, our aim is to provide the local community with the opportunity to relax, learn more about the Christmas story or simply enjoy viewing the 75 uniquely decorated trees.

"For 75 years, the church has sought to serve Jesus in the local community, not least through our range of youth and children's organisations, which continue to flourish all these years later.

"Local businesses, community groups, students and other churches are taking part by decorating the trees.

"This final event in our celebration year will be a real opportunity for the local community to get together. It is open to the public free of charge, however, there will be an opportunity for those who wish to donate to the Northern Ireland Children's Hospice and the church's refurbishment fund with a 50/50 split."

The event organisers hope people will come to marvel at the spectacle, and join in celebrating the church's special 75th anniversary year.

The Christmas tree festival at Eglinton Presbyterian Church follows last year's inaugural event in Magheralin which showcased 72 differently designed Christmas trees.

Colin Morrison added: "Last year's event in Magheralin was very well received and attracted over a thousand visitors. In fact the trees were kept on display longer than planned due to the demand.

"We would love for the local community in North Belfast, and further afield, to come and support our event."

For more information on the festival, visit the church's website at www.eglintonpres.com/

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