Harmony behind the scenes as football season kicks off with Bournemouth v Charlton
The first fixture of the football season on Saturday sees AFC Bournemouth against Charlton Athletic. But behind the scenes, there’s more harmony than we can expect on the pitch ...
HOPE is working with Sports Chaplaincy UK to equip local clubs, community groups and churches to stage the events. Pilot events have been held for the past two years. In 2011 Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Aldershot Town and Shrewsbury Town football clubs held carol events at their stadiums with the help of sports chaplains, local school choirs and Salvation Army bands.
AFC Bournemouth’s Chaplain, Rev Andy Rimmer, Vicar of the Lantern Church in Merley near Bournemouth, has held several carol services with fans and players at the Cherries’ ground.
As the Cherries’ Chaplain, Andy says: "I enjoy getting to know the lads and occasionally training with them. We have pre-match prayer which a few of them attend. Sport is a tremendous gift from God and it’s where people are.
"The carol service is a chance to celebrate Jesus’ birth in a completely unique environment. We want this event to have a real community feel as well as being attended by supporters of the clubs."
The tried-and-tested formula for the carol services includes local choirs, bands and the club’s players or manager reading some of the familiar Bible passages about the nativity story.
HOPE and Sports Chaplaincy UK have resources for groups of churches to use to help their local stadium to stage a community carol service. These can be downloaded from www.hopetogether.org.uk at http://bit.ly/15xg7HK
Get more inspiring reading
You can order our printed INSPIRE magazine in bundles of 10 for your church. Get encouraged by stories of God at work in the UK and around the world – and it's great for giving away to those on the edge of church, too! Order FREE* for your church (*we welcome an annual donation towards our costs).