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Sports crowds gather to sing for the Boy Jesus!

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Tags:
Country Tried: UNITED KINGDOM
Location Tried: Any or All Locations
Estimated costs:
Suggested frequency: Annually
Hosted by: Local Sports Clubs
Activity: Sports
Author: HOPE
Published: 10/12/2014

Description

The last place you may imagine for a Christian act of worship is a sports stadium. But, across the land, from Portsmouth to Leeds, from Shrewsbury to Sheffield, more and more clubs are now open to using Christmas as a great opportunity to gather supporters together with their local community for carol services. These may offer a lively mixture of carols, readings and creative ideas, reminding people who would never step inside a church, of the Prince of Peace who came to save the world.


At AFC Bournemouth, they have been running their Community Carol Service since 2003. The Club Chaplain, Andy Rimmer, has organised a number of the services and says, 'Christmas is a time when it's OK to talk about Jesus in an open way, and we see this service as a great way to bring people together to sing their favourite carols as well as hear a low-key message about Jesus. It's enabled us to build bridges into the life of the club and the community. Numbers have varied between 300 and 1,000 but it's always been a positive family occasion. 'The hour-long service usually involves the whole first team squad plus staff who do the readings, a Salvation Army band and school choirs. It has mainly been outdoors, apart from a couple of years, when it was held in the main bar. 'It takes quite a bit of work to pull off well,' says Andy,'and we're looking to draw in more local churches over the next few years, but it really is worth it - we even raise money for local homeless charities!'


Why not get together with your local sports club and churches to hold a Christmas carol service? If you'd like more information about sports chaplaincy you can contact Sports Chaplaincy through their website at www.sportschaplaincy.org.uk.

Rationale

'It's a win-win situation,' says Andy from AFC Bournemouth. 'The club gets to put on a community event. It's run by local churches and Christians working together. It's a natural opportunity for the good news of Jesus to ring out, and it even helps to make a difference through the offerings and food brought along, to help some of the more disadvantaged in the local community!'

Outcome

Bolton Wanderes hold a service for about 600 which is recorded by local radio and aired on Christmas Day. Portsmouth had over 3,000 in 2009 for a joint churches' carol event at Fratton Park, and Leeds United uses puppets, local choirs and music groups to prepare for the Christmas period.

In the next few years the hope is that sports club chaplains and local churches will be able to host more such events in local stadiums up and down the land.

This idea can be found on page 59-60 of Hope Heartbeat ©2013 HOPE08 Ltd. For more ideas, Hope Heartbeat is available for purchase from the website above.

Hope Heartbeat

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