A number of young men currently living as refugees and asylum seekers in a Portstewart Hotel have been attending services in Agherton Parish Church.
And on Christmas Eve, three of these young men played a special role in the parish Christingle Service at 6pm and the 11pm Holy Communion service, reading from the Gospel of Matthew in their own language from their Persian Bibles.
The passages were translated into English to be followed by the congregation on screens as the three young men read aloud.
The rector, the Rev Malcolm Ferry, said: “It really brought to life the fact that the wise men who joined Mary and Joseph at the crib faced cultural and language barriers.”
The men are among a group of around 19 who enjoy the facilities of Agherton Parish Hall each Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, when the parish opens its doors to give them a change of scene from their hotel rooms.
Malcolm said: “It’s massive for the boys to get out of the hotel to play sport together a couple of afternoons a week.”