AMONG Santa Claus, tinsel, and presents, Eurobodalla residents found plenty of room for the true meaning of Christmas, with church services well-attended around the shire.
More than 500 people went to the Sacred Heart Catholic Parish’s Children’s Mass at Moruya on Christmas Eve, which was held this time at the St Mary’s Performing Arts Centre due to the threat of rain.
“We had a real live baby Jesus in the Nativity play,” parish priest Father Emil Milat said.
There were 100 at the Midnight Mass service, twice as many as last year.
On Christmas Day, 250 turned up to the parish’s Moruya service and 150 went to the service at The Pines at Tuross Head.
“It was the biggest Christmas we have had since I have been here,” Fr Milat said.
St Bernard’s Catholic Church at Batehaven held well-attended services on Christmas Eve (Children’s liturgy), Christmas Day and a Croatian service on Christmas Night.
Batemans Bay Anglican Church of the Ascension held its traditional Christmas Eve children’s Nativity pageant, except this time it was a chocolate Nativity story, where the story was related with chocolate.
About 130 turned up for this, but only 40 people turned up for the 11pm service, which is down on normal.
However, the 8am service and 10am Holy Communion service on Christmas Day attracted 100 and 120 people respectively.
About 70 people got along to Cross Central (Assemblies of God) at Surfside on Christmas Day to sing carols and hear Pastor Tepa Faletoese preach about the true Christmas story in Luke’s gospel and its implications for us today.
Inclement weather didn’t help when St John’s Anglican Parish at Moruya held carols at Mossy Point on Christmas Eve, but about 60 people got along anyway.
Some churchgoers may have been deterred by the rain which seeped in to the St John’s church at Moruya for the 7pm Christmas Eve service, but 50 people still turned up. The church also hosted services at 11pm on Christmas Eve, and of course Christmas Day, to which 95 people came.
About 60 turned up to St Andrew’s church at Tuross Head on Christmas Day.
St John’s parish priest the Reverend Linda Chapman said numbers were similar to those in recent years.
What Moruya Baptist Church’s congregation lacks in size it makes up for in spirit, and 30 people worshipped there on Christmas Day.
“We had people away on holiday, but visitors made up for it,” a spokeswoman for the Church said.
Successful services were held at other churches including Batemans Bay and Moruya Uniting Churches, Batemans Bay Baptist Church, Moruya Presbyterian Church and Southland Christian Church.