Some of the borough’s churches are operating under the ‘new normal’ conditions, as our Religions Correspondent, PHIL PUGH, reports
All Saints Church in Kenley and St Barnabas in Purley have decided not to use the traditional “Happy Christmas” message this year, in favour of something more appropriate in this time of covid-19.
This year’s Christmas message on the parishes’ seasonal cards is simply a wish for “Comfort and Joy”, coupled with an offer of prayers – requests can be made using a new online feature.
All Saints, in Church Road, Kenley, and St Barnabas, on Higher Drive, Purley, have been linked for many years and share a priest-in-charge, Justine Middlemiss.
“A traditional Santa and snow message just didn’t seem right this year, so we’ve gone for something that offers a message of hope and love – something we all need right now,” said Rev Middlemiss.
“Our message is the simple wish for comfort and joy, to quote from a well-known carol – goodness, if there was ever a time that was needed, this is it.”
So, there is no snow, no holly, no Santa or stockings on All Saints and St Barnabas’ card – just that “Comfort and Joy” message and a 21st Century QR code providing links to the Christmas services and the new on-line prayer request web form.
All Saints and St Barnabas are worshipping online using Zoom and broadcasting some services live from covid-safe churches.
Members of the congregation have also been hand-painting colourful images of new-born Jesus on pebbles and leaving them in places in Purley and Kenley.
They include a selection of Christmas wishes. The idea is to remind people of Christ’s birth and the promise of Comfort and Joy that he brings.
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