In the run-up to Christmas Chatteris Parish Church offered two different carol events as an alternative to the traditional Christingle or the Carol Service with Candlelight. Claire Grant (Director of Music Outreach) reflects on their success and impact in the community.
Alternative Carol Service
On the 15th of December we held our first "Alternative Carol Service". A great team effort, with the appearance of the new worship band, we also had Glebelands' school choir (the choir that I help with each week) perform, which was brilliantly received. The service was a compilation of contemporarily sung carols with the help of our new Pop-Up choir, a couple of readings read by children and one of our Home for Good reps, two short videos showing the perspectives of the shepherds and Mary, and lastly a short talk by Andrew Grant speaking about not being afraid.
God is so good; it went so smoothly, thanks to a great team, and was well received. Feedback was very positive, with one person from the church saying, "look how far we've come". I had to admit at the end of it that my faith is just so small. I only anticipated around 50 people coming, with it being our first one and with most people probably planning on attending the traditional Carols by Candlelight, but we had 150 adults/children come. Isn't God good!? It was certainly a challenge to me, to trust in God's faithfulness.
This style of service offered a different, contrasting option to our traditional carol service. I was delighted to see that our traditional carol service also saw the church full, so I'm thrilled that we have been able to increase our offering to see different people walk through the church doors. Praise God.
Beers and Carols
Organised in partnership with the local band in the community, Abbey Road 5 who I have met through the Open Mic night, we partnered to put on our first Beers and Carols, hosted at the George Hotel (Thursday the 12th). We saw about 40 people come into the pub for some festive carol singing and fellowship; we handed out lyrics and then went for it. It was great to see that we had a good number come from church, Sing for Fun, and from the local community. Embracing the feel of our normal mic night, volunteers came up each song and led the singing, which was great to see.
I spoke with a couple of locals who were sitting at the bar supporting a friend; we talked about how unfortunately the church building can be such a barrier for people. To which the lady's response was, "well this is great, as it just means the church has come out to the people".
Written, with thanks, by Claire Grant (Director of Music Outreach Chatteris Parish Church)
Part of the Changing Market Towns Project
You can contact Claire by email at email@example.com