Christmas – Not Such A Silent Night
Catherine Butcher reports Swansea HOPE is bringing churches, sports fans and the wider community together again this year at the Swansea City stadium for their Christmas carols event - last year saw thousands turn out for the joint-church venture.
And they are not the only ones. Already thousands of free Sing Christmas programmes have been ordered for Christmas 2015 from the special Sing Christmas website - www.singchristmas.org.
This year’s new souvenir programme includes an introduction from TV adventurer Bear Grylls. He says: “For so many of us, Christmas is a magical time of year. A time of peace, of joy, of families and friendship. For Christians though this season means so much more. The time when we remember the birth of Jesus, when God made his dwelling amongst us.
“It’s my faith in Jesus that has so often brought light to a dark path, joy to a cold mountain, strength to a failing body. He has not only been a pointer of the way, but also a backbone, a companion, a friend.
“This year Christmas carol events are taking place around the country in churches, stadiums, pubs and even over the airwaves! Wherever you join, may you know his light, his joy, his strength, his friendship.’
The free programmes with 10 popular carols, published by Tearfund in partnership with HOPE and Sports Chaplaincy UK, can be ordered free on line at www.singchristmas.org. HOPE’s partner CPO is also offering posters, banners and invitations with the 2015 Sing Christmas design.
In 2014 HOPE, Tearfund and Sports Chaplaincy UK helped more than 70 sports stadiums and more than 700 cathedrals, churches, community centres and pubs around the UK to hold Silent Night Carol events. As well as big-name football and rugby clubs such as Swansea City, Manchester City, Saracens and Bradford Bulls, dozens of lower league and non-league sides staged an event. The Silent Night Carols were themed to mark the centenary of the 1914 Christmas Truce singing carols and reflecting on the outbreak of peace in the First World War.
This year HOPE, Tearfund and Sports Chaplaincy UK are also linking with the BBC radio teams behind Lancashire and Leicester’s Sing Christmas to encourage local radio stations, churches and pubs to work together to get communities singing carols.
Roy Crowne, HOPE’s Executive Director said: “We are building on the success of last year’s Silent Night Carols. The Sing Christmas events are subtitled ‘not such a Silent Night’. That’s because churches in some areas will link with their local radio stations to stage karaoke-style carol events in pubs, care homes and community centres – wherever people gather.
“Even without the radio link, beer and carols events have already been successful in taking the real message of Christmas to people who don’t come to church. And of course sports stadiums have invited churches back to help stage community carol events too. It’s an amazing opportunity for churches, schools and sports clubs to work together to celebrate Christmas.” Leicester and Lancashire Sing Christmas Sing Christmas has a long history in Leicestershire where the interactive sing-along carol concert is organised by BBC Radio Leicester, Leicestershire Churches Media and the Diocese of Leicester. This year their Sing Christmas event will be broadcast live on Monday 21 December at 7pm. The venues register with Leicestershire’s Sing Christmas and can download free resources to prepare for their event. Then on the night, each venue simply tunes in and everyone sings along! Churches are invited to help their local venues take part. There are lots of well-known Christmas carols to sing, interactive elements and special guests – all celebrating the real meaning of Christmas.
Lancashire Sings Christmas will hold a similar event with BBC Radio Lancashire broadcasting carols on Thursday 17 December between 7-8pm. Lancashire Sings Christmas is calling on all the local schools to write a carol that will then be sung by all the groups around the county as part of their event.