Road test – Goin' to the Chapel

If there’s one thing I’m thankful for this Christmas, it’s living in the Inner West.  Where, we can all categorically agree, one of the greatest benefits is the diversity right at your doorstep. It gifts us a rare exposure to a number of cultures, beliefs and lifestyles. We know the correct pronunciation of Pho, the importance of a good Italian espresso, the joys of finding the best kebab, and the importance of being true to ourselves. As Santa comes to town, Ciao takes a look at different religious denominations across the Inner West to see what places of worship are getting up to towards the end of 2014. 

Metropolitan Community Church Sydney (MCC), Petersham 

This welcoming church is a self-proclaimed “Church for all”, especially LGBTIQ members of the community. This church is known for its colourful rainbow flag proudly raised above Petersham and is a home for many, including refugees and new migrants, men and women who have felt alienated from other churches, as well as those living with HIV.

The MCC are celebrating this Christmas with a special Christmas Eve night starting from 8pm at Sydney Town Hall with Rev. Rod Bower from Gosford Anglican Church as their guest speaker and soloists Julia Wee and Paul Gasper heralding Christmas day. They will also have a Christmas Day service at their church in Petersham starting from 9am. This is certainly going to be one fun party where all are welcome.

96 Crystal Street, Petersham
9569 5122

The Parish Of Saint Nicholas, Marrickville

As you step away from the bustling Livingstone road into the doors of this church, you’ll be transported to the centre of Southern Europe. With its ornate decorations and large chandeliers, you know followers of Greek Orthodox teachings are celebrating Christmas in style.

Greek Orthodox, unlike other orthodox religions celebrates Christmas on the December 25th. Chrich-goers, some who will have been fasting for up to 40 days, will attend a Christmas Eve Divine Liturgy from 6am-9am and then will rise early on Christmas day for a liturgy at 5am!

They’ll end their fast with a Christmas feast shared with the community. On the menu is a buffet of whole roast turkey with a stuffing of rice, minced meat, raisins, corn and chestnuts, and the more traditional roast pork, be it a loin, shoulder or even a whole suckling pig and melomakarona for dessert.

That’s one way to end a fast!

203 – 207 Livingstone Rd, Marrickville
9558 4453

Ashfield Uniting Church,

This church is renowned for its charitable nature and the support it lends to those in need within the community. This year they will be holding their annual Christmas day lunch as part of the Loaves and Fishes restaurant, which feeds up to 1000 people. Guests receive small but useful gifts such as toiletry packs, and children attending receive one of the donated Christmas presents.

There is a range of entertainment and a delicious Christmas lunch served with the help of Exodus Volunteers.

180 Liverpool Road, Ashfield
9799 2811

Vajrayana Institute Buddhist Temple, Ashfield

This church offers a peaceful haven within the quiet residential area of Ashfield. A string of traditional Buddhist prayer flags draped across the garden as well as burning incense, reminds us of a different continent. Although the temple is closed during Christmas they offer a range of teachings, meditation classes and retreats, if you need to instil a bit of Zen in your life throughout Sydney’s summer months.

9 Victoria Square, Ashfield
(02) 9798 9644

Whatever you do this Christmas, whether it involves eating copious amounts of food until you can’t breathe, drinking champagne and avoiding your grandmother’s questions about your love life (just for example), or something a little more dignified. Take comfort in knowing you’re a part of something, something colourful, diverse and accepting…and that’s definitely something to be merry about!