Yeshua followers pass on birthdays

ESTHER ASHBY-COVENTRY
Last updated 05:00 24/12/2012
Patricia Hughes
ESTHER ASH-COVENTRY/Fairfax NZ
DIFFERENT FESTIVALS: Patricia Hughes, a member of a Timaru group of messianic believers in Yeshua, lights a menorah used to celebrate the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.

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A Timaru group, self-described as messianic believers in Yeshua, will not be celebrating Christmas tomorrow - but far from being grinches they say they are following what they think is biblically correct.

Though the unnamed group worships Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew) it does not celebrate his birthday, instead marking seven Jewish festivals annually.

Originally formed about five years ago by a few people who had an interest in Israel, the group now has about 12 members. They meet each Friday night to mark the Sabbath from sundown and study the Torah, which is the first five books of the Old Testament containing the history of the ancient Jews. None of the members is Jewish and they said they are not Christian either.

Former Anglican parishioner Patricia Hughes said she believes her old church is misguided on its views surrounding the interpretation of the Bible, pointing out that celebrating Christmas was started late in Christian history and birthdays were not important.

Another messianic believer, Pat Goodwin, said she felt there was too much paganism in celebrating Christmas but still celebrated birthdays because it was traditional. Her stand had caused a few difficulties in her family.

The group does not have a hierarchical structure and get most of their teachings from the internet.

Their next festival is Purim (festival of light) in February.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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