Tidings of comfort and joy shared throughout Advent

Christmas tree festivals, carols by candlelight, Christingles and many more festive events drew thousands of people to cathedrals and churches across our diocese to celebrate the birth of Jesus. 

Unlike any other time of the year, Christmas provides churches with a valuable opportunity to reach out to those in their communities to share the hope that Christ came into the world. 

For example, Horbury Parish church supported their local schools first ever ‘Christingle Journey’ (pictured above), which encompassed five different stations based on Advent, Christmas, the Epiphany, Candlemass, and Christingle itself. At each station, parents and students engaged in reading and listening to a Bible passage, before being given time for craft and contemplation using different media.

Fr Christopher Johnson, Vicar of Horbury with Horbury Bridge and a Foundation Governor at the school, reflected on the importance of the journey for those who took part saying, “This Christingle Journey invited not only students but their families and the wider school community to consider the story surrounding the birth of Christ, and enabled all those who participated to actively engage in worship and it brought the Christmas story alive in a new way.”

Throughout the month of December our three cathedrals also had a packed programme of events with over a thousand people attending Nine lessons and Carols at Ripon. 

Spare seats were also scarce at Bradford Cathedral during their popular Christ Eve Carol Concert and Wakefield Cathedral was highlighted during December by a festive BBC feature on community life beneath its soaring spire.

The message of Christmas was also widely shared across the diocese. For example St Edmund’s Roundhay gave away 751 New Testaments & flyers/'invitations to come back' in 2020, plus around 80 Christmas story books for young children.  This was in addition to the 44 Bibles that were taken by users of the church hall, 15 of which went on Election Day alone.

Alongside the joyful singing and festivities, churches across our region provided food and refuge to those who were in need or alone. For instance Rainbow Junktion, a café based at All Hallow’s Church in Leeds which recycles and serves waste food to the local community, served approximately 200 people on Christmas Day from all walks of life. This was in support of their work to make sure no one is hungry or alone, especially at a time such as Christmas. 

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