Abbey wel­comed half a mil­lion peo­ple

Bath Chronicle - - NEWS -

Bath Abbey is one of the busiest churches in the coun­try at­tract­ing nearly half a mil­lion peo­ple through its doors each year with num­bers reach­ing its peak in De­cem­ber. With more than 40 carol ser­vices and con­certs be­tween Ad­vent Sun­day and Christ­mas Day and many of the Abbey’s own ser­vices hap­pen­ing each week, the Abbey wel­comed over 44,000 peo­ple in De­cem­ber alone. 25,500 of these were vis­it­ing the Abbey as a tourist or her­itage at­trac­tion while a fur­ther 19,000 at­tended church ser­vices dur­ing this fes­tive pe­riod. This was an in­crease of seven per cent on vis­i­tor fig­ures for 2018. In De­cem­ber 2018, 25,500 vis­i­tors came into the Abbey through the North West en­trance com­pared to 23,800 in the pre­vi­ous year. Dur­ing the Bath Christ­mas mar­ket, Fes­tive Tower Tours gave shop­pers the op­por­tu­nity to climb the 212 steps to the top of the Abbey Tower in or­der to en­joy a bird’s eye view of the mar­ket. Vis­i­tors also got into the fes­tive spirit with 15 dif­fer­ent carol ser­vices aimed specif­i­cally at shop­pers. The Shop­pers Car­ols’ ser­vices alone dur­ing the Bath Christ­mas mar­ket at­tracted around 7,000 peo­ple in to­tal. At­ten­dance for spe­cial ser­vices, such as the Ad­vent Pro­ces­sion, Nine Les­sons and Car­ols, and Carol Praise on Christ­mas Eve, also saw the Abbey filled to max­i­mum ca­pac­ity. Canon Guy Bridg­wa­ter, Rec­tor of Bath Abbey said: “As the new Rec­tor of Bath Abbey, folk had told me how very busy we are in the lead up to Christ­mas – and it has cer­tainly been an ex­cit­ing time to ar­rive here. While many or­gan­i­sa­tions were be­gin­ning to wind down, things tend to rev up a gear at the Abbey and rightly so. “We are thrilled to be at the heart of a bustling vi­brant city and feel priv­i­leged that so many peo­ple, lo­cals and vis­i­tors alike, chose to cel­e­brate Christ­mas with us. “Our aim is to give our Abbey vis­i­tors a mean­ing­ful and mem­o­rable en­counter with the mes­sage of God’s love, com­ing to trans­form our hu­man­ity in the birth of Je­sus Christ - whether they are from the other side of the world, a reg­u­lar wor­ship­per, at­tend­ing a con­cert or come just once a year. “With build­ing work tak­ing place in the East end of the Abbey for the Foot­print pro­ject, we were con­scious that space was even more at a premium than usual, so we made the de­ci­sion to in­crease the num­ber of ser­vices on of­fer. “We dou­bled our most pop­u­lar ser­vices such as the Ad­vent Carol Ser­vice and the Fes­ti­val of Nine Les­sons and Car­ols, and held 15 Shop­pers’ Car­ols ser­vices – and were thrilled that ev­ery sin­gle one of these was filled to max­i­mum ca­pac­ity with hun­dreds of peo­ple join­ing to­gether for wor­ship. “The vast num­ber of vis­i­tors, carol ser­vices, con­certs and the rel­a­tively small space of the Abbey made De­cem­ber a very busy but amaz­ing time for us, es­pe­cially as we try to wel­come each per­son as im­por­tant and each ser­vice spe­cial. “There were plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to cel­e­brate with us at the Abbey, and we hope peo­ple ex­pe­ri­enced a warm sense of com­mu­nity, spiced with beau­ti­ful wor­ship and plenty of Christ­mas joy. It was such a great priv­i­lege and de­light to share the lifechang­ing mes­sage of Christ’s birth with thou­sands ev­ery week, through­out the Christ­mas sea­son”

Christ­mas at Bath Abbey

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