News Release

Ambassadors host international reception to launch London Nativity Exhibit

Diplomats from 24 countries support event opened by ambassadors from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of South Sudan

At an international event in London on the 2nd of December, ambassadors Marie Opombo of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Agnes Oswaha of the Republic of South Sudan shared insights on the deep significance of the Christmas nativity scene in the London Nativity Exhibit and provided personal reflections on the birth of the Saviour.

The exhibit, located at the Hyde Park Chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was opened with a reception and festive musical programme. Over 100 guests attended, including ambassadors, high commissioners and deputies representing 24 foreign missions located in London, along with United Kingdom Government leaders, other elected officials, heads of charities, and faith leaders.

During the evening Elder Martin J Turvey, Europe Area Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said that members of the Church want to go about doing good, joining with people of goodwill from all faith traditions. He added, “As a church and as individuals, our aim is to follow Jesus Christ to ‘succour the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.’ (Doctrine and Covenants 81:5)”

Many guests appreciated the opportunity provided for connect with those who work with charities and foundations that aid and assist victims of conflict and persecution. These included Fiona Bruce MP, the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, David Rutley MP, Chairman and Founder of the AMAR Foundation Baroness Emma Nicholson, AMAR Chief of Staff Andrew Methven, and Dr Ewelina Ochab of the Coalition for Genocide Response.

Also attending was Councillor Gerard Hargreaves, Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, accompanied by Councillor Johnny Thalassites.  Both expressed appreciation for the diversity and beauty of the exhibit, incorporating 44 individual displays, and for the opportunity to make new acquaintances and strengthen community connections.

As well as previewing the exhibit and enjoying the spirit of the occasion, guests were able to listen to beautiful Christmas music and partake of a buffet of Mediterranean cuisine. Nativity paintings and nativity scenes were lent by embassies and high commissions in London, as well as by Church members.

The programme was conducted by Chris Stephenson, President of the Hyde Park Stake, which includes congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located in central London.

The International Nativity Exhibit, “Hope was Born”, open each day in the Hyde Park Visitors’ Centre until 9pm, will continue to the end of December. Visitors are encouraged to bring their families and friends, to “Come and See” as we honour the Saviour and reflect on the time when “Hope was Born” in Bethlehem.

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