On 11th December 2016, 500 people attended the SSIO national Christmas celebrations, themed “Human Values: The Foundation of Humanness.” The event at the prestigious Princess Hall at Cheltenham Ladies’ College, featured a stage adorned with a nativity scene, surrounded by festive décor representing angels. The programme included the story of Mary and Joseph’s journey in a Festival of Nine Lessons, beautifully strung together by Christmas carols and scripture readings. The Reverend Kathy McClure concluded the presentation with insightful remarks about artwork and divinity. Ms. Katinka Lamsweerde, National Council President of the SSIO of Netherlands, spoke about the universal human values that unite all religions, cultures, and nationalities. A flute recital was then followed by a play by SSE children titled “The Christmas Gift,” conveying the message that surrendering ourselves to God is the one and only gift we need to offer. SSE children from the Sathya Sai Centre of Merton (London) then offered a delightful nativity play, “Donkey’s Christmas.” The Regional President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, UK, shared verses from the Holy Quran and his views on Mary and Jesus. The Human Values Choir from the Sathya Sai Centre of Russell Square, London, presented melodious and uplifting songs. Cookies decorated by the SSE children were donated to a local charity for vulnerable women and children. Councillor Christine Ryder, Mayor of Cheltenham, spoke about the spirit of giving, and Santa Claus made an appearance to greet everyone.

img_7427-copyimg_7584-copy img_7391-copyimg_7602-copy