Christmas Re-Imagined – English Cathedral Style

18th November 2020

Cathedrals are re-imagining the season of Advent and Christmas this year to continue to be a place of peace and to bring comfort and joy during the pandemic.

The season of Advent and Christmas re-imagined – English Cathedral style. Know we are here. Ever present.

A Christmas tree has just gone up in front of Lincoln Cathedral’s West end and a model of Truro Cathedral has been recreated in fairy lights as part of the city’s Christmas lights scheme that will have a virtual switch-on later today.

Carols and services are being pre-recorded, Advent calendars filmed, Christmas fairs taken online, and Christingles re-worked.

We might look a bit different, you might have to do things differently this year, but know we are here. Ever present.

Christmas Reimagined - Truro Cathedral

St Barnabas Hospice in Lincoln delivered a 30 ft real Christmas tree and put it up outside the Cathedral this week ready for their much-loved Light up a Life campaign and Torchlight Procession for families and friends to come together and remember loved ones. This year it will be entirely virtual in keeping with Government guidelines with a service online next Tuesday hosted on the Hospice’s website and Facebook page.

Truro Cathedral has been recreated in fairy lights as part of the city centre’s virtual Christmas lights scheme which will be switched on daily from today. (Wed 18 November).

The festive light installation at the city’s main roundabout is due to Truro’s successful Towns Fund bid aimed at unleashing economic growth potential with a focus on regeneration.

The Cathedral Christmas Light model which features a 3.8m spire will be featured in Truro’s first Virtual Christmas Lights Switch-on which is being streamed at 6.55pm today via Pirate FM’s Facebook page – @PirateFM.

Tickets have just been released for Truro Cathedral’s free Christmas Festival which runs from 7-13 December offering an hour of Christmas music each day from the Cathedral Choristers.

The concerts are free, but you must book a ticket. You can do that by clicking here.

Ely’s popular Christmas fair opened online this week – and saw a record 9,000 visitors on its first day. The Cathedral’s Christmas Gift and Food Fair usually attracts 16,000 people over a three-day event but this year it will run until 20 December offering shoppers access to 200 festive independent stall-holders from the comfort of their own home.

The virtual fair includes a full programme of events and activities – these include carols by the Cathedral Choristers, a seasonal presentation by Wild Oak Workshops, a unique performance of Christmas music by Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull and more which can be watched live or catch them later from the website.

Ripon has also taken its Christmas fair online launching this week. The fair was scheduled to open this Friday for three days and has often welcomed over 20,000 visitors. It will now be available online until December 16 and like Ely, the cathedral hopes it goes someway to supporting small independent retailers in these challenging times.

Visit the Ripon Cathedral Christmas fair here.

St Albans has just released its Christmas programme which includes pop-up carols, a Christingle, a family friendly Christmas story-telling on Christmas Eve, quiet Mondays throughout December for private prayer and reflection and a reverse Advent Calendar.

This December, they are encouraging collections of essential food and toiletry items as an alternative or in addition to opening your own advent calendar as a way of helping and supporting those less fortunate.

They have created a downloadable calendar and is asking people to put aside an item every day during December to donate to the local foodbank FEED, part of the Vineyard Church, St Albans.

Items can be delivered after Christmas either to the Cathedral on Sunday 10 January, or directly to the Vineyard Church on Mondays 10am – 12pm or Wednesdays 1 – 2.15pm. Find out more about FEED here.

Download your Reverse Advent Calendar

Wells, Christ Church Oxford and Bradford cathedrals are all planning online Advent calendars.

Bradford Cathedral has lots planned to mark the season of Advent and Christmas season. They’ve been busy recording a series of videos to create their own Bradvent Calendar which will be launched across all their social media every day from Tuesday 1st December. Covering music, the arts, crafts, flowers, the environment, reflections and much more, there are 24 videos in the series with some extra videos on Advent Sunday and Monday 30th November telling the story of the Advent candles and their Star in the Tower.

Throughout Advent Wells Cathedral will release a ‘virtual Advent calendar’ made up of carols from the choir plus some organ music too.

They hope to hold a Candlelight concert which will be a finale of their successful Bounce Back Appeal – launched in lockdown back in April to help the cathedral survive the pandemic – the appeal has raised £80,000. This concert will also be available on line for those who cannot attend the live event as places will be limited due to social distancing rules.

Booking opens on 30 November for this. Visit the Wells Cathedral website to book here.

Other events planned include two classical Christmas Concerts with Tasmin Little, four carol services, crib services and special readings for Christmas Eve. All events are ticketed and must be booked in advance.

Portsmouth Cathedral hopes to shine light in the darkness this Advent and Christmas with a range of services and seasonal concerts – physical and online – plus throughout Advent, right through to Epiphany they will be posting blogs and stories going behind the scenes, exploring their treasures, and meeting some of the people that make Christmas happen at the Cathedral.

Christmas Reimagined - Portsmouth Cathedral

Leicester Cathedral has pre-recorded Advent meditations and will be offering those every Sunday throughout Advent from 29 November. Other events for the season include a muddy puddles Christingle which will take families on a trip around the city starting at the Cathedral and ending at the cathedral to put the finishing touches to their Christingles.

Leicester hopes to offer an online shoppers service via a big screen from the city’s market place and are pre-recording a crib service that will take characters of the nativity on a journey round the shops in the city before they come together in the Cathedral this year.

And York Minster has used inspiration from the spectacular stained glass panels contained within its Great East Window for a new webinar series of Advent Reflections that will be broadcast live across four weeks starting next Thursday (26 November).

Four speakers – the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, Dr Paula Gooder, Professor John Swinton, and the Bishop of Hull, Alison White – will each take one panel of the medieval window to explore the traditional Advent themes of Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell – known as The Four Last Things – challenging contemporary views of the Advent and Christmas season.

Access to this webinar series is by free booked ticket via the York Minster website. To book click here.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas …. we might look a bit different, you might have to do things differently this year, but know we are here. Ever present.

Please check individual cathedral’s website – all events are subject to the national lockdown ending on 2 December and Government and Public Health guidelines.