SeeRound Online December 16/January 17 Issue 11 News

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#Joy to the World – share your moment of Christmas joy

#Joy to the World

There is no end of resources to help parishes welcome people to church this Christmas.

The www.achristmasnearyou.org website is now live. So thanks to all those who have uploaded several thousand Christmas services, people all over the 1100 square miles of St Albans Diocese will be able to find a Christmas Service near them. They will even be able to use a smartphone to geo-locate the nearest service to them, wherever they are.

Also live from 1 December is the #JoyToTheWorld hashtag for social media. Churches and individuals can use this hashtag: churches to share photos and videos of their Christmas celebrations and individuals could talk, tweet and share about the services they have attended and maybe even mention their moment of Christmas joy! Tell everyone! FIND, PREPARE and SHARE at www.achristmasnearyou.org where you will also find free RESOURCES to advertise #JoyToTheWorld.

Growing Attendances

Christmas sees growing church attendances with over 2.5 million people nationally and 97,900 in the diocese coming to a church service (that’s almost 4x the average Sunday all-age attendance during the year). Comparable figures for 2010 are 2.32 million and 87,800. In St Albans Diocese there has been some variation in the figures, with 2011 and 2012 seeing over 96,000 going to church, but a big fall to 90,000 the following year.

Undoubtedly, though, Christmas is the time when our churches see the biggest attendances. In addition to people coming to experience the wonder and joy of Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, a further five million people across the nation attended special services in Advent, for church congregations and churches’ local communities or for civic organisations and schools. That’s something to celebrate as well as it leaving us wondering how to connect with them enough to welcome them back.

Four videos – four moments of Christmas Joy

The first of four videos for Advent on the theme of Christmas joy has appeared. It features the Revd Rose Hudson-Willkin, Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons, visiting her former church in Dalston, London and sharing her moment of Christmas joy. You’ll have to watch, we won’t spoil it!

Happy Christmas.

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