Ale fair and 700 years of Christmas carols

Churchgoers are getting ready for an ale festival, a Gospel concert and 700 years of Christmas carols in London’s East End.

Their ale fair opens at 4pm on Sunday at Bow Church in an area once notorious for its roudy annual beer-drinking gatherings till they were stopped during the Victorian temporance campaigns in the 19th century.

It’s now being revised as part of the 700th anniversary of St Mary’s in the Bow Road—but on a smaller, more gentile scale—followed at 6pm by a festive service featuring carols from seven centuries that was planned by the late Rector Michael Peet before he died in April.

The parish has revived a traditional 1930s art deco Christmas card featuring Bow Church as part of the celebrations of the local history.

A mile up the road, neighbouring parishioners hold their first Christmas Gospel concert at St Paul’s in Old Ford at 5pm the same day at their church in St Stephen’s Road, behind Roman Road Market. The choir, led by a young Nigerian, Olutosin Akinrem, has been up and running for just a year.

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