Christ­mas – Not Such A Silent Night

The Church of England - - REVIEWS -

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.

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