Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu encourage you to #FollowTheStar, the Church of England’s new Advent and Christmas campaign launched this month.
Thousands of Christmas services and events will be taking place in churches all over the country in the run-up to Christmas. Archbishop Justin said: "For many of us, Christmas brings up so many emotions, memories and expectations. We have one nativity story, but it can seem like we all have very different Christmases.
"For you, it might be a time of joy and togetherness. Or perhaps it’s all about planning and to-do lists. Many others can find it a sad and lonely time – nagged by the feeling that your Christmas is not like those ‘perfect’ ones we see in the media.
"But just like the unexpected assortment of people who were invited to meet the baby Jesus, #FollowTheStar doesn’t ask you to be perfect. It says: come just as you are to take the life-changing Christmas journey.
#FollowTheStar is the Church of England’s 2018 Christmas campaign. Its main aim is to encourage people into a local church service or event to share in the joy of Jesus’ birth.
Here are five ways your church can get involved with the campaign:
1. Update your church page on A Church Near You! Last year we saw a 50 per cent increase in services and events listed last year on the website. Make sure you tag your services with ‘FollowTheStar’ as well as ‘Christmas’, ‘mince pies’ ‘mulled wine’, ‘Advent’ and ‘Christmas carols’ as appropriate.
2. Become a ‘star church’ by displaying stars prominently. The bigger and more visible the better. If possible, illuminate at night and share on social media on Friday, 21 December to be part of the ‘night of the stars’. More details will follow on this in the weeks ahead. How to make a giant star for your home, church or school - for this and other star activities download the PDF sheet - here
3. Help us to share our Christmas videos and social media posts through your social media accounts. We’re producing an interactive family Advent and Christmas calendar and videos to encourage people into local churches.
4. Order the #FollowTheStar: A Journey Through the 12 Days of Christmas booklets. The resource has been written by The Revd Dr Isabelle Hamley and features a welcome from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. The booklets are available individually and in bulk-savings packs for congregations and visitors to your church to use. View a sample copy and buy copies from Church House Publishing. From late November 2018, users can sign up to receive the daily reflections by e-mail and through an Android or iOS app. Order copies of the booklet for your congregation and visitors from CPO publishers here
5. Download and buy posters, logos and other resources. We’ve partnered with CPO on a range of resources that can be bought on the Church Print Hub website. In addition, digital resources can be found on our website.