Fiona Simon is the new Associate Minister at HT Brussels, here she introduces herself and gives an insight in what is involved when a church prepares for the Christmas season.

It is interesting as you move to different places in ministry to see the same type of things being done in the church but in very different ways. Last year at this time I was the Vicar of a local Parish Church in Surrey where I seemed to be involved with the entire communities’ celebrations for Christmas! My diary was full of school nativity plays, carol services (for care homes, offices and pubs), Christmas lunches and parties of the various community groups who had contact with the church. Looking back, I’m surprised I found time to plan the Christmas services …. but I guess it was possible because everything was so local, it all happened within a mile of the vicarage.

This year is a very different story. My husband Paul and I moved to Brussels this summer due to his work and I began ministry here in October as an Associate Minister at Holy Trinity Pro-Cathedral Brussels. HTB is the complete opposite of ‘local’ and encompasses people from a huge variety of backgrounds and nationalities from across the globe. Many different traditions of celebrating St. Nicholas Day, Christmas and Epiphany are represented within the congregation and I’m looking forward to learning about these and it will be great to have a change from mince pies!

Many of the Christmas services we do here, seem familiar though: The children’s Nativity Play, the Christmas Eve Family Crib Service, Midnight Communion (but at 10pm so everyone can get home on the trains!). But we also have a contemporary Carol Service for the young professional community working in the European Institutions, we need to run two traditional carol services back-to-back to cope with the full orchestra, choir and numbers who want to attend, there is a special Christmas service for those who are finding Christmas time a challenge and there is the African Service and feast on the afternoon of Christmas day!

We are hoping to welcome many visitors to the church for these services and praying that they will become friends in Christ. Everyone who comes will be offered an invitation to come to the Alpha courses that will be running here in both English and French starting in the new year.

It is very exciting to be part of this international setting, and we are praying that God will teach us, lead us and use us for His glory through this time we spend in Brussels.

More information on Christmas Service and HT Brussels.