Cathedrals prepare for Christmas

Liverpool, Salisbury, Newcastle and Lincoln are the latest cathedrals to share their Christmas plans this year as cathedrals continue to be a place of peace, and bring comfort and joy during this pandemic year.

At cathedrals everywhere it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Advent has arrived at Salisbury Cathedral, the lights are switched on, its 32ft Christmas tree is up at the West End, the Nativity banner is in place over the Spire crossing and the flower arrangers have prepared a special trail exploring the symbols and stories of Christmas.

Michael Bowyer, Salisbury Cathedral’s Director of Flowers, and thirty of his regular flower arrangers have created a special twelve-stop trail which will explore the Christmas story using seasonal foliage and linking to festive activities and customs, including a selfie frame that visitors can use to create pictures to share on social media or to put onto their Christmas cards, spreading the message of comfort and joy with friend and family.

Throughout December there will be carols in the cathedral during visiting hours, sung by a number of choirs including some of Salisbury Cathedral School’s choirs, Salisbury Cathedral Youth Choir, Kate Edgar’s community choirs and the Cathedral Choristers and there are family activities created online and off.

Details of all Christmas services in the Cathedral and those services being livestreamed are available on their website.

Booking is essential for services in the Cathedral

Angel Wings is a moving sound and light projection created especially for Liverpool Cathedral by Luxmuralis, a collaboration of artist Peter Walker and composer David Harper. The wings will pulsate and change colour and have been created at shoulder height so visitors can experience for themselves the idea of flight.

The Liverpool Cathedral Choral Scholars will also offer seasonal music on selected Tuesdays and Thursdays through December and you can find details of all Liverpool’s Advent and Christmas services here.

Liverpool Cathedral Christmas Services

All events – including visiting the Angel Wings – must be booked in advance to manage numbers for social distance, and can be done so through Eventbrite.

Newcastle Cathedral has announced a full range of services for Advent and Christmas events from a traditional Service of Nine Lessons & Carols, atmospheric Midnight Mass, online craft activities for all ages, zoom gatherings, and a ‘Carousel of Carol Services’ sung by its Choir.

In his Christmas message, the Dean of Newcastle, the Very Revd Geoff Miller said:

“I want to let you into a secret that we have been guarding at the Cathedral: The Grinch (nor Coronavirus) cannot steal Christmas! As the only Cathedral in England dedicated to St Nicholas, it’s a truth we have known for generations.

“Not simply because modern Christmas celebrations have subsumed Nicholas into their heart but also because Nicholas himself was always at pains to celebrate the joy, generosity and love that the birth of Christ constantly bestows upon his world and indeed us.

“… Christmas is a time, virus or no virus to enjoy the celebration of Good news in Christ,’ he added.

Peterborough Cathedral has re-opened to visitors and worshippers, and is hosting its socially distanced Christmas Craft and Gift Market today and Saturday, and has welcomed back its Tower tours and opened its booking system for ticket reservations for Christmas services.

Tower Tours are planned on selected dates, starting this Saturday and tours round the Cathedral will re-open to visitors from Monday while public worship in the Cathedral will resume this Sunday, including several carol services with the choir singing festive favourites.

Booking is essential for all events to maintain social distance and keep people safe. A full list of services and links for booking are on the website here.

Many of the Christmas Services, including the services on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, will also be live streamed so that those who cannot attend in person can still take part.

The Very Revd Chris Dalliston, Dean of Peterborough, said:

“We’re delighted that once again we can open the doors of the Cathedral for some of our special events and for our Christmas services. The past year has been challenging for us all and while Christmas won’t feel quite the same as it usually does the chance to meet together, to hear (if not to sing) the familiar carols, words and music and to experience the extraordinary atmosphere of our great building will surely bring comfort and joy to many. “

Tickets are now available for Lincoln Cathedral’s Christmas services and for the first time, Lincoln will host an outdoor carol service on Sunday 20 December. The carol service will feature the Cathedral choir performing festive family favourites in the newly opened Dean’s Green – congregational singing is allowed out of doors.

The popular Service of Lessons and Carols will this year take place over four consecutive days to allow as many people as possible to attend despite the significantly reduced number of people able to gather in the Cathedral. The services will run from Monday 21 December to Thursday 24 December at 4pm.

The Very Revd Christine Wilson, Dean of Lincoln said:

“There can be no doubt that Advent and Christmas will be very different this year and we are committed to offering music and worship to lift the heart and soul.

“In these challenging times we hope to bring comfort and joy into people’s lives through acts of care and compassion and the demonstration of God’s love.”

The full daily pattern of worship will be the same as it was prior to the start of lockdown and Evensong on a Tuesday and Friday and Sunday Eucharist will continue to be streamed live on the Cathedral’s Facebook page.

To manage numbers and ensure that all those who attend can do so in comfort and safety, all Christmas services will be ticketed. Tickets are available from the Cathedral’s website.

Our cathedrals might look a little different, you might have to do things differently. PLEASE note most events are ticketed to keep people safe and adhere to the latest Government and Public Health guidelines.