‘You don’t see Christmas lights on palm trees here’

Rev Doug Zimmerman at St Mary's Church, Aylesbury
Rev Doug Zimmerman at St Mary's Church, Aylesbury

American vicar Doug Zimmerman is looking forward to his first Christmas at the helm of Aylesbury’s St Mary’s Church.

And the reverend has already noticed a few differences in the festive season here compared to his native Florida.

He said: “I’m still learning the English tunes to some of the hymns, there is definitely a diffence there.

“Of course the climate is a little different too. I haven’t seen any Christmas lights strewn around palm trees here. And the song Dreaming of a White Christmas seems to make a bit more sense.”

Rev Zimmerman said he is having a ‘wonderful’ Christmas in Aylesbury and is particularly enjoying the church’s carol services.

He is also excited about the community Christmas lunch which the church will be hosting on Christmas Day.

“I’m told last year there was about 120 people who attended, so it is not a small thing.

“It is a long standing tradition and a way of reaching out into the community. We’ll have volunteers coming in to help and we are going to be wrapping presents the night before. It is a wonderful thing and I’m looking forward to experiencing it first-hand.”

Rev Zimmerman, who took over from Rev Shane Wood in September, believes ‘God has a huge connection with the congregation and building’ of St Mary’s.

During 2015 he hopes the church will undergo some refurbishment work.

“It could do with some TLC, things like the lighting, the roof, the walls. It’s a beautiful building as it is but it is also time to freshen it up a bit.”

He also hopes to grow the church’s ‘wonderful children’s choir’ during 2015.