Chapel of Hope Hosts International Christmas Festival

Story and photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Marissa Beasley, FLEACT, Yokosuka, Public Affairs

The Chapel of Hope hosted the Fleet Activities (FLEACT), Yokosuka International Christmas festival, Dec.8.

This celebration of faith and the holidays brought together a congregation of more than 400 people. Staff Chaplain Saul Burleson was the coordinator of this event this year.

“It’s an important opportunity for us as a chapel community to reach out and partner with host nation churches and worship with them during this most holy time of year,” said Staff Chaplain Saul Burleson who was the coordinator of this year’s event.

The Japanese and FLEACT, Yokosuka communities have carried on this tradition of Christmas worship for many years.

“It’s a long- standing history that started 31 years ago in 1983. Each year, the service alternated between Yokosuka City Hall and the Chapel of Hope,” said Burleson. “It has maintained its strength in numbers. This year we had about 275 members from host nation churches coming on board. It is a really good event with a lot of participation from all denominations.”

The Chapel of Hope Combined Protestant Choir, Yokosuka City Committee Gospel Choir, and the Tokyo Evangelical Church Youth Choir performed at the church service.

“Services that combine all denominations show that faith crosses all lines and that we can come together and worship with the people of our host nation,” said Burleson.

“Hosting these events displays good diplomacy and creates relationships with the Japanese community, while bringing families together,” said Religious Petty officer 2nd Class Ralph Oliver.

At the conclusion of the service everyone gathered in the reception hall to enjoy a holiday party of pizza, cookies and drinks served by some of the Chapel of Hope Volunteers.

“I think this is a great opportunity for the base to get involved with community and let them know that we support them especially during the holiday season,” said  Yeoman 1st Class Khrystlle Shepperd who volunteered for the event.

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